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MADRID i 76 







LEON 156 






MERIDA. . . . 224 







SIEGES OF 1808 AND 1809 261 








BRAGA 324 



BATALHA . . 333 

EVORA 340 


VOL. I. MAP OF SPAIN to face the Title. 













HISPALIS,* the capital of Hispania Baetica, of which 
Seville is the representative, is mentioned by Strabo, 
Pomponius Mela, Pliny, and Ptolemy, as being an- 
cient even in their time. It is supposed to have 
been founded by the Phenicians, according to the 
popular tradition, by Hercules. By the Romans it 
was invested with the privileges of a colony, under the 
name of Julia, in honour of Julius Caesar, who is re- 
garded as its second founder ; and it is said to have 
borne also the appellation of Romula, or little Rome. 
Over the gate called the Came (because it leads to the 
shambles) is the following inscription : 

Condidit Alcides, renovavit Julius urbem, Cfiristo Fentandus Tertius, hero*. 

* Arias Montano derives the name Hispalis or Ispalis from a 
Phenician word, Spala, signifying a plain. This name the Goths 
are said to have changed into Hispalia, of which the Arabians, not 
pronouncing the p, made IsbiLla ; which again the Castilians, with 
whom the b and the r are convertible, converted into Sevilla, it,* 
present name. 



These two Latin verses are thus translated in another 
inscription over the gate of Xeres : 

Hercules me edifice ; 
Julio-Cesar me cercd 
De muros y torres altos : 
Y el Rey santo me gana 
Con Card Perez de Vargas.* 

The Gothic kings made this city their capital before 
they removed their court to Toledo. In 71 1, it became 
an easy prey to the Saracens, after the fatal battle of 
Xeres. On the dismemberment of the khalifate of 
Cordova in 1027, Seville became an independent sove- 
reignty under the dynasty of the Benni Abbad, which 
lasted for about fifty years. A succession of different 
governors then usurped the sovereignty, and it enjoyed 
a short period of civil liberty as a republic, till at 
length, in the year 1248, after more than a year's siege, 
it capitulated to Ferdinand the Saint. Three hundred 
thousand Moors are said to have left the city upon this 
capitulation, to carry their arms and industry to 
countries which yet acknowledged the law of Moham- 
med, exclusive of those who had perished during the 
siege. Yet, a few years after, Seville had again be- 
come a large and populous city. Its most brilliant 
epoch was soon after the discovery of America, when 
it became the emporium of the riches which the 
Spanish fleets brought home from the New World to 
the port of the Guadalquiver. Merchants from all 
parts then flocked hither, where the fortunate adven- 
turers on their return, lavished their wealth ; and the 
sovereign frequently made this city his residence. 

* Hercules was my founder. By Julius Csesar I was surrounded 
with walls and lofty towers. And the saintly king won me, together 
with Garci Perez de Vargas.>-Over an ancient painting of Seville is 
this motto : 

Ab Hvculc et Ctzsare nobilitas : a se ipsafideltias. 


Then, indeed, was the time when the Spaniard might 
exclaim with exultation, " He who has not seen 
Seville, has not seen the wonder of the world." " Its 
court was then the most splendid in Europe. Its 
streets were thronged with merchants, its river was 
crowded with ships, and its quays were covered with 
all sorts of precious merchandise. Great were the 
buildings begun, and still more vast the projects for 
future ones. Its prosperity seemed proof against the 
fickleness of fortune. But, in the course of a few 
years, it fell from the highest pitch of grandeur to 
solitude and poverty, by the danger and embarrass- 
ments in the navigation of the Guadalquiver. The 
superior excellence of the port of Cadiz, induced the 
Government to order the galleons to make that their 
station for the time to come."* 

In the year 1601, if we may believe the representa- 
tions given in a memorial presented to Government 
by the seventeen companies of arts and trades, 
Seville had contained 16,000 silk -looms of all sizes, 
which gave employment to 130,000 persons. -f- In the 

* It was to the Guadalquiver, (Wady al Kebir, the great river,) 
the ancient Baetis, that Seville owed its former splendour. The 
largest ships then ascended to the very quays of Seville, and those 
of smaller burden went upas high as Cordova. " At present," says 
Bourgoing, " vessels of large size advance no higher than Bonanza, 
a village fifteen leagues from Seville ; and none above 80 tons can 
sail up the river, but must transport their cargoes in boats." Sir 
John Carr, however, says that this is an error. ' I saw," he says, 
" merchant-ships of at least 180 or 200 tons lying off the quay at 
Seville." Mr. Jacob says, the river is not navigable as high as 
Seville for vessels drawing more than ten feet water, and even 
these frequently ground. "Vessels of (not) more than 150 tons 
load and unload about eight miles below the city, and those of 
greater capacity remain at San Lucar." 

t In the English translation of Bourgoing (vol. iii. p. 130), Seville 
is said to have contained this number in 1700; a palpable blunder. 
Mr. Townsend states, that in the year 1519, under the encourage- 


year 1779, there were only 2,318 looms in this city. 
At the time of the great pestilence of 1800, Seville 
contained a population of 80,000 persons, viz. 60,000 
within the walls, and 20,000 in the suburhs. Of these, 
76,000 were attacked by the contagion, which carried 
off, between the 28th of August and the 30th of 
September, 14,685 persons. According to a recent 
census, Seville still retained a population of 90,415 
souls. Few cities contain so many public edifices 
devoted to the purposes of religion and charity. 
Besides five-and-twenty parish churches, and five 
chapels of ease, there are thirty-one monasteries, 
twenty-nine nunneries, three congregations of canons 
regular, a commandery of San Juan d'Acre, three 
beaterios, two seminaries, eight hospitals, and two 
houses of correction. The archbishopric is one of the 
richest in Christendom. There is a university, 
founded in 1502. The principal manufacture now, is 
that of snuff ! 

The situation of Seville, M. Bourgoing pronounces 
admirable, its climate delicious, and the surrounding 
country very fertile. It stands in the midst of a rich, 
and to the eye a boundless plain, and its walls are 
washed by the Guadalquiver, on the bank of which is 
the new alameda. The shape of the city is circular. 
The walls, evidently of Moorish construction, are, 
according to Townsend, more than a league, ac- 

ment given to the silk-manufacture by Alfonso the Wise, they once 
more reckoned in Seville 16,000 looms ; but the mittones imposed 
by Philip II., together with the expulsion of the Moors, almost 
ruined this once wealthy city. Added to which, in the year 1649, 
an epidemic disease visited this city ; and in 1655, there remained 
only 60 looms. But in 1713, the weavers amounted to 405. In 
1732, the looms were 1000. In 1739, they were suddenly re- 
duced, by war with England, to 140. In 1/80, they amounted to 
2,318, as stated above. 


cording to Swinburne, " not more than five miles and 
a half" in circumference. " The suburb of Triana, 
on the west side of the river, is as large as many 
towns, but is remarkable for nothing but its gloomy 
Gothic castle, where, in the year 1482, the Inquisition 
formed its first establishment in Spain. The streets 
of Seville are crooked, dirty, and so narrow, that, in 
most of them, two coaches find it difficult to pass 
abreast. The widest and handsomest place is the 
alameda, a great walk of old elms in the heart of the 
city, 600 yards in length, by 150 ; it is decorated with 
three fountains, and the statues of Hercules, the 
reputed founder, and Julius Caesar, the restorer of 
Seville. Most of the churches are built and orna- 
mented in a barbarous style; and the cathedral (conti- 
nues this Traveller) is more cried up than it deserves. 
It is by no means equal to York Minster for lightness, 
elegance, and Gothic delicacy. The clustered pillars 
are too thick, the aisles too narrow, and the choir, by 
being placed in the centre, spoils the coup eTeei/, and 
renders the rest of the church little better than a col- 
lection of long passages. The ornamental parts are 
but clumsy imitations of the models left by the Moors. 
Not one of the great entrances or porches is finished ; 
and, to disfigure the whole pile, a long range of build- 
ings in the modern style has been added to the old 
part. Don Sancho the Brave began this church near 
the close of the thirteenth century, and Juan II. 
finished it about a hundred years after.* Its length 

* The foundation of the present cathedral, the largest ecclesias- 
tical edifice in the peninsula, was laid on the 8th of July, 1401, 
and completed, with the interior decorations, in the space of 170 
years. The original cathedral was a mosque which occupied the 
same site, and which, from a portion of the walls still remaining, 
appears to have been similar in design and execution, and not 
much inferior in size, to the Mezqiiita of Cordova. 


within, is 420 feet ; its breadtli, 273 ; and its greatest 
height, 126.* The circumference of each cluster of 
pillars is 42 feet. It has nine doors, 80 windows, and 
80 altars, at which 600 masses are said every day. "I 1 
The pavement is brick, but they are now (1775) new- 
laying it with marble. The great gate of the cloisters 
(the only remains of the mosque which occupied the 
site) is a piece of handsome Moorish architecture. 
The large orange-trees that shade the fountains in 
the middle of the cloisters, make them a most agree- 
able walk. At one angle stands the Giralda, or belfry, 
a tower 250 feet high, and 50 square, erected by the 
Moors about A.D. 1000. The Christians have added 
two stories and a prodigious weathercock, which alto- 
gether agree much better with the ancient building 
than patchwork is wont to do. The sculpture of the 
Saracenic part, which is 200 feet high, is in a much 
simpler taste than their artists were accustomed to 
display in public works. The effect of this tower, 
rising far above every edifice in Seville, is extremely 
noble. Tradition relates, that, to form a solid founda- 
tion for it, the Moors made a deep hole into which 

* Mr. Townsend gives nearly the same dimensions, 420 feet 
by 263, and 126 in height. Mr. Jacob, however, states them to be 
398 feet by 290, a singular discrepancy ; while Laborde, with inex- 
plicable inaccuracy, (or his translator,) states the length at only 
262 feet, the breadth at 123 feet 9 inches, (viz. the nave 41 feet 
9 inches, and each of the four aisles 20 feet Cinches,) and the height 
at 113 feet 7 inches. 

t Laborde says 90 windows : they are of fine stained glass, the 
work of a Flemish artist, each of which cost one thousand ducats. 
Mr. Townsend agrees with Swinburne as to the number of win- 
dows, but states the altars to be 82, and the annual consumption 
to be 1,500 arrobas of wine, 800 of oil, and about 1000 of wax. 

t Swinburne says, 350 feet high ; but, as it is probably a typo- 
graphical blunder, we have corrected his text. The date he 
assigned to the tower is also erroneous. 


they cast all the marble and stone monuments that 
could be found. When repairs have been necessary, 
and the ground has been opened near the bottom, 
many broken ornaments and inscriptions have been 
discovered. The whole work is brick and mortar. 
A winding staircase (an inclined plane) is contrived 
within, so easy and wide as to admit of two horsemen 
riding a breast above half way up. For some purpose 
unknown, the architect has made the solid masonry in 
the upper half just as thick again as that in the lower, 
though, on the outside, the belfry is all the way of the 
same dimensions."* 

The Giralda, which the destroyers of the mosque 
that formed the old cathedral have so fortunately 
spared, is one of the most interesting remains in 
Seville. It was originally built in the year 1196, 
under the superintendence of the famous Arabian 
mathematician and astronomer, Geber (or Guever), 
to whom the invention of algebra has been erroneously 
attributed, and was used as an observatory, being the 
most ancient monument, perhaps, in Christendom, 
consecrated to science. The height to which he car- 
ried it was only 172 feet, and it terminated in a square 
turret of brick, on which was fixed an iron pillar 
bearing four immense globes of iron gilt. This turret 
was pulled down in 1568, and the tower raised 86 feet 
higher, making the whole elevation 258 feet. It is a 
square of forty-three feet, built with square stones to 
the height of three feet and a half, and then continued 
with large bricks. It terminates in a little cupola, 
on which stands the Giralda which gives name to the 
tower ; a brazen statue of Faith, executed by Barto- 
lome Morel, which, though weighing two tons and a 

* Swinburne, vol. ii. pp. 337- 


half, turns with the slightest breeze. There are 
twenty immense bells at the top of the tower. The 
treasures of this church are described by Townsend as 
of inestimable value : we know not how far they have 
escaped the fate of the other churches and convents, 
which were plundered by the French. Not to speak 
of the silver altar, and images as large as life of saints 
Isidore and Leander, of the same precious metal, and 
a profusion of gold and gems, this church with its 
numerous chapels was crowded with the best works of 
Murillo, Luis de Vargas, and Zurbaran. The church 
of the Capuchins was richly furnished with the works 
of Murillo ; eleven of his pictures decorated the chapel 
of Vera Cruz, belonging to the Franciscans ; various 
other convents and chapels possessed several of his 
paintings, and his most celebrated performances were 
in the hospital de la Caridad.* But the pictures 
which once adorned these churches, have been for the 
most part carried off by Joseph Bonaparte or his 
marshals, and have never been restored. -|- To the 
cathedral belongs a public library, which was begun 
by the bequest, in 1560, of 20,000 volumes, collected 
by Hernando, the son of the great Columbus. In the 
chapel of the kings, among other monuments and 
sculptures, is the tomb of Saint Ferdinand, with four 
inscriptions in Hebrew, Arabic, Latin, and Castilian ; 
that of Alfonso the Wise, and those of several other 
royal and princely personages. " But not one of these 
tombs," says Bourgoing, " makes so deep an impres- 
sion or excites such interesting recollections as that of 

* This great painter was born in 1618, and died in 1682. His 
works, Bourgoing says, " were long wanting in the rich collection 
of the kings of France, but he, at length, occupies a place in the 
National Museum." 
. i Quin's Visit to Spain, p. 309. 


Christopher Columbus, erected in front of the choir, 
with this inscription, striking at least for its brevity : 
' A Castillo, y Aragon 
Otro mundo dio Cbton.' 

To Castile and Aragon, Colon gave another world. 
His son, Don Ferdinand, who would have been 
esteemed a great man had he sprung from a less re- 
nowned father, has also a monument in one of the 
chapels." Mr. Townsend mentions a curious new 
organ in the cathedral, containing 5,300 pipes with 
1 10 stops ; and yet, the bellows, when stretched, 
would supply the full organ fifteen minutes. The 
mode of filling them is singular : a man walks back- 
wards and forwards along an inclined plane about 
fifteen feet in length, which is balanced in the middle 
on its axis. Under each end is a pair of bellows about 
six feet by three and a half, which communicate with 
five other pairs united by a bar ; and the latter are so 
contrived, that when they are in danger of being 
overstrained, a valve gives them relief. Passing ten 
times along the inclined plane, fills all these vessels. 

Among the other public buildings, the most inte- 
resting is the Alcazar, a royal palace, designed, it is 
said, in imitation of the Alhamra. The greater part 
of the present edifice, however, was built between the 
years 1353 and 1364, by Don Pedro the Cruel, and 
the remainder was erected by Charles the Fifth. Here 
Philip V. resided for many years towards the close of 
his reign, and passed his time in drawing with the 
smoke of a candle on deal boards, or angling for tench 
in a little reservoir by torch-light. It has since been 
not less honoured by the sittings of the Supreme 
Central Junta. Swinburne terms it a pasticcio of 
Saracenic, Conventual, and Grecian architecture. The 
exterior has a miserable appearance ; but the first court 


10 SPAIN. 

after entering the gate, has a very grand effect. The 
front looking into this court is purely Arabic in its 
style, and the spectator supposes that he is admiring 
a genuine piece of Moorish architecture, till, on closer 
examination, he sees lions and castles and other armo- 
rial ensigns of Castile and Leon, interwoven with 
arabesque foliages, and notices an inscription in large 
Gothic characters, informing him that these edifices 
were built in the fourteenth century by the most 
mighty king Don Pedro. * " Within this portico," 
says Swinburne, " is a court 93 feet by 69, flagged 
with marble, and surrounded with a colonnade of white 
marble pillars of the Corinthian order, elegantly 
proportioned and well executed. The walls behind 
are covered with grotesque designs in the Moorish 
taste. Charles the Fifth has contrived to foist his 
eagle and his Plus Outre into every corner. The 
great hall adjoining, called the Media-naranja, or 
half-orange, from the form of its cupola, is richly 
gilt, and stuccoed in the same manner. Here, I own, 
my little knowledge of architecture was fairly non- 
plussed. I was convinced that the portion of the fabric 
called by the travel-writers the Moorish part, was the 
work of Peter the Cruel, who might easily procure 
skilful artists from the kings of Granada, with whom 
he wag connected during the greater part of his reign. 
But there was no accounting for the Corinthian pil- 
lars, unless I supposed them to have belonged to some 
Roman edifice, destroyed for the sake of supplying 
materials for the palace, or to have been placed by the 
emperor under the old gallery, in lieu of others in 

* Mr. Jacob says, there is one Arabic inscription with a date 
corresponding to A.D. 1181, bearing that the palace was erected in 
the reign of a certain king of the name of Nazar ; but he gives no 

SPAIN. 11 

a barbarous style or ruinous state. Next to the 
court of the lions in the Alhamra, this square is the 
most pleasing piece of Arabic building I have met 
with, though, in delicacy of design and execution, the 
ornaments of the Sevillian are much inferior to those 
of the Granadian palace. Near the western entrance 
was formerly to be seen a stone seat, with its canopy 
supported by four pillars, all now destroyed. Here, 
that severe judge, Don Pedro, sat to decide causes, 
and give sentence upon malefactors. His justice was 
so very inflexible, that, in those days of feudal anarchy, 
it was looked upon in the light of wanton cruelty and 
tyranny. Perhaps that unfortunate monarch owes to 
the hatred of those whom he meant to reduce to order, 
much of the obloquy which has been so plentifully 
bestowed upon him by historians, who have painted 
him to us as a tyrant so bloody, so wicked, as almost to 
exceed the bounds of probability. In Andalusia, where 
he fixed his residence, and seemed most to delight, 
his memory is not held in the same abhorrence. The 
Sevillian writers mention him very differently ; and, 
instead of his usual appellation of Pedro el Cruel, dis- 
tinguish him by that of El Justiciero. It is certain, 
that his natural brother and murderer, Henry of 
Transtamare, was guilty of crimes full as atrocious as 
any of those imputed to Don Pedro ; but, as he de- 
stroyed him with his family and adherents, the friends 
of the new spurious race of monarchs were left at full 
liberty to blacken the characters of the adverse party, 
without fear of being called to an account for calumny, 
or even contradicted. Truth is now out of our reach ; 
and for want of proper proofs to the contrary, we must 
sit down contented with what history has left us, 
and allow Don Pedro to have been one of the 

12 SPAIN. 

most inhuman butchers that have ever disgraced a 
throne.*' * 

The saloon called the Hall of Ambassadors, was 
occupied at the time of Mr. Jacob's visit by the Cen- 
tral Junta, and the rooms adjoining by the various sec- 
tions or committees : the whole palace was filled by the 
different branches of Government. He describes the 
saloon as a beautiful apartment, adorned with elegant 
designs in stucco, and with a floor of the most trans- 
parent marble of various colours. It contained a collec- 
tion of Roman antiquities ; among others, some fine 
statues in good preservation, brought from Italica, dis- 
tant four miles from Seville. The garden of the Alcazar 
is laid out in the Moorish taste. Several parterres, 
surrounded with galleries and terraces of marble, inter- 
sected by myrtle hedges and jasmine bowers, and per- 
fumed by clumps of orange-trees, with here and there 
baths supplied by fountains, make up this miniature 
paradise ; and there are water-works which send up 
small streams from minute pipes in the joining of 
the slabs, producing a most grateful effect. " No- 
thing," says Swinburne, " can be more delicious than 
these sprinklings in a hot day ; all the flowers seemed 
to acquire new vigour, and the odours exhaled from the 
orange, citron, and lemon-trees, grew more poignant, 
more balsamic : it was a true April shower." 

La Lonja (the exchange), built at the expense of 
the merchants by Juan de Herrera, in 1598, displays 
the best taste of any edifice in Seville. It is a quad- 
rangle of nearly 200 feet, with a corridor, adorned 
with Ionic columns, and stipported by an equal number 
of Doric. Being raised on steps, it has a magnificent 
appearance. The staircase is superb, of coloured 
* Swinburne, vol. ii. pp. 18 22. 

SPAIN. 13 

marble, about 25 feet in breadth, with balustrades 
supported by marble pillars. There are three apart- 
ments in front, each 180 feet long, and four others 
lighted from the patio (court), of larger dimensions. 
In the apartments are book-cases, in which are de- 
posited all the charts, plans, titles, and correspondence 
relating to the New World since the discovery of 
America, arranged and docketed, including the original 
letters of Cortez and Pizarro. 

The College of the Jesuits, to which, on the abolition 
of that order, the Holy Office was transferred from 
the Triana, is of light and tasteful architecture, most 
ill according with the gloomy character of that 
dreadful tribunal. The church is simple and elegant ; 
the interior, which is of white marble, is of a circular 
form, lighted from a beautiful dome. The church of 
San Salvador is an ancient mosque, in the Moorish 
taste, with arcades supported by pillars. The royal 
tobacco-manufactory (fabrica de tabaco) is a very fine 
building, 439 feet in length by 280 broad ; it is sur- 
rounded with a ditch, like a fortress, and contains 
twenty -eight courts. It is said to have cost thirty- 
seven millions of reals, or above 385,000^. sterling. 
There are upwards of a hundred mills for grinding 
the snuff, which are turned by horses and mules, 
while some hundreds of men and boys are generally 
employed in rolling leaf-tobacco into cigars.* The 

* " I was greatly struck," says Mr. Jacob, " with the rigorous 
examination the labourers underwent on their leaving the Fabrica ; 
they were almost stripped naked, and examined as closely as if 
they had been working in a diamond mine. And yet, in spite of 
all these precautions, I was informed that they contrived to secrete 
considerable quantities." The snuffs made here are of various 
kinds. One is a bad imitation of the French rappee ; but the most 
esteemed is that which is mixed with the earth called almagra, 
brought from Almazarron (see vol. i. p. 205), and which, Mr. Jacob 

14 SPAIN. 

Naval Academy of St. Elmo is also a very handsome 
edifice. This institution was founded in 1526, by 
Ferdinand Columbus, for a hundred and fifty youths ; 
but, in 1809, the number of pupils was not above 
seventy, and the objects of the establishment were 
most miserably neglected. The expenses are defrayed 
by a small tonnage-duty on every vessel that sails for 
America. The royal cannon-foundry is a fine building, 
in which two hundred men are employed in casting 
and boring brass-guns of a large calibre. Neither the 
steam-engine nor the water-wheel had been introduced 
when Mr. Jacob visited it, the labour of mules and 
men being solely employed even in the heaviest opera- 
tions. Yet he pronounces it to be the best-arranged 
institution he had hitherto seen in Spain. In this 
foundry were cast the enormous mortars with which 
the French under Marshal Victor bombarded Cadiz, 
one of which is seen, a trophy of British valour, in 
St. James's Park, near the Horse Guards. There 
is also a powder-manufactory.* The Mint (Casa 
Moneda) is one of the most ancient buildings in 
Seville, and was at one time remarkable for its activity ; 
it is now but little used. 

The Canos de Carmona, the great aqueduct which 

says, is a species of ochre. Being mixed with the tobacco in a 
damp state, it gives it the colour, as well as the pungency and 
flavour which are so much admired. 

* A circumstance is connected with this manufactory, which re- 
flects the deepest disgrace on the character of the French army. 
On the retreat of Napoleon's troops from Seville, a flint was so 
fixed in the teeth of a wheel in the powder-mill, that when the 
machine should be set in motion, it would strike against a piece of 
steel. This diabolical scheme succeeded but too fatally. Colonel 
Duncan, who commanded the English artillery, on inspecting the 
place, ordered the machinery to be put in motion, on which he and 
several other persons in that part of the building, were blown into 
the air. 

SPAIN. 15 

conveys water to this city from a hill near v the town 
of Alcala,* is believed to be a Roman work; but the 
innumerable repairs it has undergone, have obliterated 
almost every trace of their manner. The arches (410 
in number) are of different construction, some re- 
sembling the Roman, others the Moorish : they are 
twelve feet in diameter. The water is conducted in 
an open canal on the top of the arches, and forms a 
constant stream, three feet wide and two feet deep ; 
a part is received into a large reservoir near the 
Carmona Gate, from which it is named, and the 
remainder is conveyed by pipes to the Alcazar," the 
public fountains, and private dwellings. There is an 
octagon tower near the quay, called the Torre del Ore, 
which the popular tradition ascribes to Julius Caesar ; 
and indeed the walls of Seville are believed to be 
Roman. In the present state of the military art, they 
would be of little use. Some of the gates are very 
magnificent, especially that of Triana, which leads to 
the bridge of boats over the Guadalquiver. 

There are two other public buildings too character- 
istic to be omitted in the enumeration. Not far from 
the city is " a strange kind of edifice," verging to 
decay, which had long excited Mr. Townsend's curi- 
osity before he could obtain any other than evasive 
answers respecting its design. He was at length con- 
fidentially informed, that it was the Quemadero. " The 
name was sufficient, together with the form, without 
further inquiries, to explain the horrid use to which 
it had been too often put." About four years before, 

* Swinburne says, the rocks there are bored in various directions 
for an immense length under ground, in order to intercept every 
little runner, and collect so considerable a stream as to turn several 
mills. The conduit is so leaky, that a rivulet is formed of the 
waste water." 

16 SPAIN. 

he afterwards learned from one of the inquisitors, a 
beata had suffered at this " burning-place," for the 
alleged crime of corrupting the priesthood by her 
charms ! The other building alluded to is the Plaza 
de Toros. " This amphitheatre is one of the largest 
and handsomest in Spain. A great part is built of 
stone ; but, from want of money, the rest is wood. 
From ten to twelve thousand spectators may be accom- 
modated with seats. These rise in tiers, uncovered, 
from an elevation of eight feet above the arena, and 
are finally crowned by a gallery, whence the wealthy 
may behold the spectacle under cover from the weather. 
The lowest tier, however, is preferred by young gen- 
tlemen, as affording a clearer view of the wounds 
inflicted on the bull. This tier is protected by a 
parapet. Another strong fence, six feet high, is 
erected round the arena, leaving a space of about 
twenty between its area and the lower seats. Open- 
ings, admitting a man sideways, are made in this 
fence, to allow the men on foot an escape when closely 
pursued by the bull. They, however, generally, leap 
over it. But bulls of a certain breed will not be left 
behind, and they literally clear the fence. Falling 
into the vacant space before the seats, the animal runs 
about till one of the gates is opened, through which 
he is easily drawn back into the arena." Seville is 
acknowledged on all hands to have carried these fights 
to perfection ; and to her " school of bullmanship," the 
art owes all its refinements.* 

* See Doblado's Letters, letter iv. where will be found a detailed 
description of all the customs connected with the inhuman practice. 
In addition to the particulars mentioned at vol. i p. 362, it is 
stated by this author, that, ten being the appointed hour to begin 
the morning exhibition, " such days are fixed upon as will not, by 
a long church-service, prevent the attendance of the canons and 

SPAIN. 17 

Among the private houses, Laborde mentions as 
deserving of notice, one that is called by the people, 
the house of Pilate, for what reason does not appear : 
it belongs to the Duke of Medina Celi, and was built 
in the year 1520. The principal court is very fine, 
having a piazza supported by marble columns, with a 
fountain in the centre upheld by dolphins ; and the 
court is also embellished with statues and antique 
busts. Two galleries in the garden contain a collec- 
tion of urns, sculptures, and other ancient remains. 
Mr. Jacob mentions the house of Don Josef Maria 
Perez as one of the most voluptuously contrived he had 
ever seen. One apartment more especially delighted 
him, which was in perfect preservation, though cer- 
tainly not less than 500 years old. " The form 
resembles a double cube, the one placed above the 
other ; its height about sixty feet, and its length and 
breadth about thirty feet. The ornaments, which 
begin at ten feet from the floor, and are continued to 
the top, consist of a kind of variegated net-work of 
stucco, of exquisite regularity and beauty. It is said, 
that this kind of stucco is composed of lime mixed 
with the whites of eggs. It is as hard as stone, and 
not a flaw or crack is to be seen on the whole sur- 

To a foreigner, the general appearance of Seville is 
very singular, partaking in a considerable degree of an 

prebendaries who choose to be present ; for the chapter, in a body, 
receive a regular invitation from the maestranza" the corporation 
of noblemen who in Seville enjoyed the exclusive privilege of giving 
bull-feasts. " If we consider that even the vestals at Rome were pas- 
sionately fond of gladiatorial shows, we shall not," it is remarked, 
" be surprised at the Spanish taste" for these disgusting but some- 
what less inhuman spectacles. Yet, what has Christianity then 
done for Spain ? 


18 SPAIN. 

oriental character. Mr. Quin, who was there in April 
1823, has given a lively description of the city, and of 
the impression it made as compared with Madrid. 
He saw it under favourable circumstances, as the 
expected arrival of the king had produced a great 
influx of population. 

" In Seville, the houses are mostly built according 
to the eastern fashion, seldom consisting of more than 
two stories, and constructed round the four sides of an 
open area, called the patio. The front door, which is 
open from morning till night, leads to a short entrance, 
which is very neatly paved with brick or polished tiles. 
From this passage, called the zaguan (an Arabic 
word for a porch), another door, which is generally 
shut, leads to the interior square or patio. This 
inner door is sometimes of oak or mahogany ; but 
usually it is formed of iron bars, arranged often in a 
light and fanciful style, handsomely painted and gilt. 
Through this door, any one passing in the streets 
may observe the economy of the patio, which is 
floored with polished tiles, sometimes planted with 
shady trees, but more generally decorated with vases, 
in which the most fragrant roses and other flowers 
are growing. Not contented with the number of 
flower-pots which they can conveniently arrange on 
the floor of the patio, they have also half -flat vases, 
which are suspended on the walls all round. In this 
place are also sometimes glass cupboards, in which 
all the riches of the house in china-ware are set out, 
and wired cases, where books are arranged in the shade. 
It is quite refreshing to pass from the burning streets 
into one of these nymph-like abodes, where coolness 
and shade are at once to be obtained. In some there 
are handsome fountains, ever yielding pure and cool 

SPAIN. 10 

streamlets ; and the tiles are kept constantly cool by 
sprinkling them frequently with water. 

" As yet, most of the inhabitants were living above 
stairs, and the rooms on the first story were shut up. 
Numbers might easily have let their lower apartments, 
but they preferred to keep them for their own use, as 
they would remove down stairs about the latter end 
of May. The communication of the rooms above 
stairs with each other, is usually by an external gal- 
lery, which runs all round the square. To the edges 
of this gallery pulleys are attached, by means of which 
a canvass awning may be stretched over the patio in 

" Although there is this superabundance of house- 
room, the streets are mostly so narrow, that there are 
not more than two or three through which two carri- 
ages could pass abreast. In many, a carriage cannot 
pass at all, and one may touch each side of the street 
with his hands as he passes. The reason which I 
have heard assigned for this peculiar construction of 
the streets of Seville is, that if they were wider, it 
would be impossible to bear in them the heat of the 
summer sun. Being so close together, they afford a 
mutual shade, and the passenger can walk through 
them without inconvenience from heat at any time 
of the day. This effect is certainly obtained ; but the 
consequence is, that Seville appears to be little more 
than a labyrinth of narrow lanes, in which a stranger 
is frequently puzzled how to make out his way. 
Taking these things into consideration, it did not 
appear to me that there are much fewer houses in 
Seville than in Madrid ; but the extent of ground 
which Seville occupies, is considerably less than that 
of the capital ; its public buildings are fewer, and its 
streets, on account of their narrowness, have consi. 

20 SPAIN. 

derably less beauty. They are also so roughly paved, 
that it is painful to one not accustomed to walk 
through them. But if Seville have no street which 
may be spoken of in the most distant comparison with 
the Calle de Alcala of Madrid, neither has Madrid a 
cathedral which would bear the least comparison with 
that of Seville. 

" The preparations which were making in the 
Alcazar for the reception of the king, were confined 
to white-washing, painting, and cleansing. There 
was not a single chair, or table, or bed in the whole 
palace : it was expected that there was a convoy on 
the road with these necessary articles of furniture. 
The authorities were doing all in their power to 
prepare for the reception of the Government ; bnt 
they wanted money, which, day after day, they were 
calling on the inhabitants to supply. One day, the 
Intendant issued a placard, couched in the most flat- 
tering terms towards the Sevillians, requesting them 
to furnish the sums necessary for receiving the Govern- 
ment, either by way of free gift or loan, or in antici- 
pation of future contributions, and assuring them 
that, by the arrival of the Government in the city, 
they would be usuriously repaid. The next day, the 
Constitutional Alcaldes issued another placard to the 
same purpose ; and after these came the Political 
Chief, in terms equally adulatory, and with solicita- 
tions Still more pressing. But hitherto they had 
expended their eloquence to little purpose ; for it 
appeared that the Sevillians, though rejoicing in the 
arrival of the Government amongst them, were very 
reluctant to pay beforehand for any benefits which 
they expected from it. The greatest bustle prevailed 
in every part of the town in preparing houses, laying 
in stores, remoring furniture, every body being re- 

SPAIN. 21 

solved to make the utmost of the approaching harvest. 
Beds and apartments were at five times their common 
price, and an attempt was made also to increase the 
price of bread, under pretence that there was a scarcity 
of flour ; but the authorities speedily interfered, and 
prevented this extortion. The old inhabitants said 
that Seville now began to look like itself ; for they 
remembered the time when it was the emporium of 
the Spanish commerce Avith the New World." 

The shops in Seville, Mr. Jacob says, are wretched 
in their appearance, and ill supplied, except those of 
the embroiderers, lace-makers, and goldsmiths. " The 
shops at which glass, knives, forks, spoons, and otheT 
German articles are sold, are mostly kept by native 
Germans or their descendants, who are distinguished 
by the name of Bohemians. They converse with each 
other in High Dutch, are well supplied with different 
articles of Nuremberg manufacture, and are by far the 
most civil shopkeepers in Spain ; in every part of 
which, I am told, they are to be found. The book- 
sellers inhabit a street called Calle Genova, and are 
as badly furnished as other traders. Most books of 
value are printed at Madrid." The alcavala is a 
dead-weight upon all trade and commerce. The chief 
articles of export are wool, goat and kid skins, 
liquorice, and oil. Most of the silks now worn in 
Seville are of French manufacture. 

We shall borrow a few more descriptive traits from 
the Author of Doblado's Letters. 

" About the middle of October, every house in 
Seville is in a complete bustle for two or three days. 
The lower apartments are stripped of their furniture, 
and every chair and table nay, the kitchen vestal, 
with all her laboratory are ordered off to winter- 
quarters. This change of habitation, together with 

22 SPAIN. 

mats laid over the brick floors, thicker and warmer 
than those used in summer, is all the provision against 
cold which is made in this country. A flat and open 
brass pan, of about two feet diameter, raised a few 
inches from the ground by a round wooden frame, on 
which those who sit near it may rest their feet, is 
used to burn charcoal made of brush-wood, which 
they call cisco. The fumes of charcoal are injurious to 
the health ; but such is the effect of habit, that the 
natives are seldom aware of any inconvenience arising 
from the choking smell of their brasiers. 

" The precautions against heat are, however, nu- 
merous. About the latter end of May, the whole 
population moves down stairs. A thick awning, 
which draws and undraws by means of ropes and 
pulleys, is stretched over the central square (court), 
on a level with the roof of the house. The window- 
shutters are nearly closed from morning till sunset, 
admitting just light enough to see one another, pro- 
vided the eyes have not been recently exposed to the 
glare of the streets. The floors are washed every 
morning, that the evaporation of the water imbibed 
by the bricks may abate the heat of the air. A very 
light mat, made of a delicate sort of rush, and dyed 
with a variety of colours, is used instead of a 
carpet. The patio is ornamented with flower-pots, 
especially round a jet-<Teau, which, in most houses, 
occupies its centre. During the hot season, the ladies 
sit and receive their friends in the patio. The street- 
doors are generally open ; invariably so from sunset 
till eleven or twelve at night. Three or four very 
large glass lamps are hung in a line from the street- 
door to the opposite end of the patio ; and as, in most 
houses, those who meet at night for a tertulia, are 
visible from the streets, the town presents a very 

SPAIN. 23 

pretty and animated scene till near midnight. The 
poorer class of people, to avoid the intolerable heat of 
their habitations, pass a great part of the night in 
conversation at their doors ; while persons of all 
descriptions are moving about till late, either to see 
their friends, or to enjoy the cool air in the public 

" This gay scene vanishes, however, on the ap- 
proach of winter. The people then retreat to the 
upper floors, the ill-lighted streets are deserted at the 
close of the day, and they become so dangerous from 
robbers, that few but the young and adventurous 
retire home from the tertulia, without being attended 
by a servant, sometimes bearing a lighted torch. The 
free access to every house which prevails in summer, 
is now checked by the caution of the inhabitants. 
The entrance to the houses lies through a passage 
(the zaguan) with two doors, one to the street, and 
another, called the middle door, (for there is another 
at the top of the stairs,) which opens into the patio. 
The middle door is generally shut in the daytime ; the 
outer one is still never closed but at night. Whoever 
wants to be admitted, must knock at the middle door, 
which knock, by the by, must be single, and by no 
means loud in fact, a tradesman's knock in London. 
It is answered with a Who is there ? To this question 
the stranger replies, Gente de pax, Peaceful people 
and the door is opened without further inquiries. 
Peasants and beggars call out at the door, Ave, Maria 
purissima ! Hail, spotless Mary ! The answer in that 
case is given from within, in the words, Sin pecado 
concebida, Conceived without sin. 

" This custom is a remnant of the fierce controversy 
which existed about three hundred years ago, be- 

24 SPAIN. 

tween the 'Franciscan and the Dominican friars, whe- 
ther the Virgin Mary had or had not been subject to 
the penal consequences of original sin. The Domini- 
cans were not willing to grant any exemption ; while 
the Franciscans contended for the propriety of such a 
privilege. The Spaniards, and especially the Sevil- 
lians, with their characteristic gallantry, stood for the 
honour of Our Lady, and embraced the latter opinion 
so warmly, that they turned the watch -word of their 
party into the form of address which is still so pre- 
valent in Andalusia. During the heat of the dispute, 
and before the Dominicans had been silenced by the 
authority of the pope, the people of Seville began to 
assemble at various churches, and, sallying forth with 
an emblematical picture of the sinless Mary, set upon 
a sort of standard surmounted by a cross, they paraded 
the city in different directions, singing a hymn to the 
Immaculate Conception, and repeating aloud their 
beads or rosary. These processions have continued to 
our times, and they constitute one of the nightly 
nuisances of this place. Though confined, at present, 
to the lower classes, they assume that characteristic 
importance and overbearing spirit which attach to the 
most insignificant religious associations in this coun- 
try. Wherever one of these shabby processions pre- 
sents itself to the public, it takes up the street from 
side to side, stopping the passengers, and expecting 
them to stand uncovered, in all kinds of weather, till 
the standard is gone by. These awkward and heavy 
banners are called at Seville, Sinpecados^ that is, 
4 sinless,' from the theological opinion in support of 
which they were raised. The Spanish Government 
under Charles III. shewed the most ludicrous eager- 
ness to have the sinless purity of the Virgin Mary 

SPAIN. 25 

added by the pope to the articles of the Roman 
Catholic faith. The court of Rome, however, with 
the cautious spirit which has at all times guided its 
spiritual politics, endeavoured to keep clear from a 
stretch of authority, which even some of their own 
divines would be ready to question. But splitting, as it 
were, the difference with theological precision, the cen- 
sures of the church were levelled against such as should 
have the boldness to assert, that the Virgin Mary had 
derived any taint from c her great ancestor ;' and 
having personified the Immaculate Conception, it was 
declared, that the Spanish dominions in Europe and 
America were under the protecting influence of that 
mysterious event. This declaration diffused universal 
joy over the whole nation. It was celebrated with 
public rejoicings on both sides of the Atlantic. The 
king instituted an order under the emblem of the 
Immaculate Conception a woman dressed in white 
and blue ; and a law was enacted, requiring a declara- 
tion, upon oath, of a firm belief in the Immaculate 
Conception, from every individual, previously to his 
taking any degree at the universities, or being ad- 
mitted into any of the corporations, civil and religious, 
which abound in Spain. This oath is administered 
even to mechanics upon their being made free of a 

" Most of the Spanish villages possess some mira- 
culous image generally of the Virgin Mary, which 
is the t palladium of the inhabitants. These tutelar 
deities are of a very rude and ancient workmanship, 
as seems to have been the case with their heathen 
prototypes. The 4 Great Diana' of the Alcalaians* is 

* The inhabitants of Alcala, commonly called Alcala of the 
Bakers (de los Panaderos) to distinguish it from Alcala Real. 
The greater part of the bread consumed in Seville comes from this 

26 SPAIN. 

a small, ugly, wooden figure, nearly black with age 
and the srnoke of the lamp which burns incessantly 
before it, dressed up in a tunic and mantle of silver 
or gold tissue, and bearing a silver crown. It is dis- 
tinguished from the innumerable host of wooden Vir- 
gins by the title of Virgen del Aguila (the Virgin of 
the Eagle), and is worshipped on a high, romantic 
spot, where stood a strong fortress of the Moors, of 
which large ruins are still visible. A church was 
erected, probably soon after the conquest of Andalusia, 
on the area of the citadel. A spring of the most de- 
licious water is seen within the precincts of the temple, 
to which the natives resort for relief in all sorts of 
distempers. The extreme purity of both air and water 
on that elevated spot, may, indeed, greatly contribute 
to the recovery of invalids, for which the Virgin gets 
all the credit."* 

The moral state of society in Seville is apparently 
not quite so bad as might be expected from the con- 
currence of almost every demoralising cause. Lord 
Byron expressively adverts to " the silent crimes of 
capitals," as characterising proud Seville. There is, 
however, a misrepresentation in the stanza referred to 
in one respect : little is to be seen to disgust the eye.-f 

place. About sixty men, and double that number of mules, leave 
Alcala every day at day-break, and attend till evening, in two 
rows, enclosed with iron railings, in the Plaza del Pan. 

* Doblado's Letters, pp. 2025 ; 206, 7- 

f " From this circumstance," says Mr. Jacob, " I have heard 
sensible Spaniards who have been in England, contend for the 
superiority of their country over ours in regard to public morals ; 
but it is not easy," he remarks, " for foreigners to form a proper 
estimate of our national morals on this subject : they have seldom 
opportunities of observing the domestic attachments in our more 
sober and worthy families." This remark, however, will equally 
apply to the estimate of foreign nations made by English travellers. 

SPAIN. 27 

Outward decorum is always observed, although every 
virtuous principle is notoriously violated in the general 
practice of married women, with whom the matrimo- 
nial tie is considered as a mere form, a nominal con- 
nexion ; and the only real engagement is that which 
binds them to the cortejo. These attachments are 
much more durable and more assiduously cultivated, 
a higher degree of constancy and fidelity is exacted, 
and jealousy often assumes that deadly character which, 
in Old Spain, was confined to the husband. The 
nature of their education, the pollution of the confes- 
sional,* the celibacy of the clergy, and the total ab- 
sence of all proper religious instruction, more than 
account for the lamentable dereliction of virtue which 
forms the greatest stain on the national character. 
The Author of Doblado's Letters, himself a Spaniard, 
has made the best apology for the levity of the Anda- 
lusian women. Their power of fascination, he ascribes 
to their extreme sensibility, rather than to beauty of 
feature, which may not, he says, at first please the 
eye, " but they seem to improve every day till they 
grow beautiful.f Without the advantages of educa- 
tion, without even external accomplishments, the 
vivacity of their fancy sheds a perpetual glow over 

* See Doblado's Letters, pp. 769. " The strictest delicacy is, 
I believe, inadequate fully to oppose the demoralising tendency of 
auricular confession. Without the slightest responsibility, and not 
unfrequently in the conscientious discharge of what he believes his 
duty, the confessor conveys to the female mind the first foul breath 
which dims its virgin purity." 

t All travellers seem to admit that the Andalusian women are 
peculiarly interesting. " The women of Seville," says Mr. Quin, 
" are remarkably animated. They mostly walk the Alameda in 
full dress, that is, with their hair carefully curled, their arms 
bare, and the veil (mantilla) thrown over the head and shoulders, 
but not concealing the face. Their chief attractions, however, 
consist in fine forms and a lively expression of countenance, more 

28 SPAIN. 

their conversation ; and the warmth of their heart 
gives the interest of affection to their most indifferent 
actions. But Nature, like a too fond mother, has 
spoilt them, and superstition has completed their ruin. 
While the activity of their minds is suffered to run 
waste for want of care and instruction, the conscious- 
ness of their powers to please, impresses them with 
an early notion that life has but one source of happi- 
ness. Were their charms the effect of that cold, 
twinkling flame which flutters round the hearts of 
most Frenchwomen, they would only he dangerous to 
the peace and usefulness of one half of society. But, 
instead of being the capricious tyrants of men, they 
are generally their victims. Few, very few Spanish 
women, and none, I will venture to say, among the 
Andalusians, have it in their power to be coquettes. 
If it may be said without a solecism, there is more of 
that vice in our men than in our females. The former, 
leading a life of idleness, and deprived by an ignorant, 
oppressive, and superstitious government of every ob- 
ject that can raise and feed an honest ambition, waste 
their whole youth and part of their manly age in 
trifling with the best feelings of the tender sex, and 
poisoning, for mere mischief's sake, the very springs 
of domestic happiness. But ours is the most dire and 
complex disease that ever preyed upon the vitals of 
society. With some of the noblest qualities that a 
people can possess, we are worse than degraded, we 
are depraved by that which is intended to cherish and 
exalt every social virtue : our corrupters, our mortal 

fascinating, perhaps, than regular beauty. The Moorish colour is 
not absent from their cheeks, though some are to be met with 
whose complexion is as fresh as that of an Englishwoman." 
Lord Byron's eulogy of the dark -glancing daughters of Andalusia 
is well known. 

SPAIN. 29 

enemies are, religion and government. Wherever the 
slightest aid is afforded to the female mind in this 
country, it exhibits the most astonishing quickness 
and capacity ; and probably, no other nation in the 
world can present more lovely instances of a glowing 
and susceptible heart preserving unspotted purity, not 
from the dread of public opinion, but in spite of its 
encouragements." * 

The country round Seville to a considerable dis- 
tance lies so low, that it is subject to frequent inunda- 
tions ; and sometimes the Guadalquiver rises to an 
alarming height. In the walls are inserted pieces of 
marble, some between eight and nine feet high, re- 
cording that, in the year 1796, the river rose to that 
altitude. But in the winter of 1822, Mr. Quin states, 
that it rose still higher than these memorials, or than 
had ever \>een remembered, sweeping away flocks and 
cottages in its course, and doing great injury. In 
consequence of these frequent floods, and the vapours 
and miasmata occasioned by stagnant water, Seville 
and its neighbourhood are peculiarly subject to tertian 
and putrid fevers. The narrowness of the streets, 
and the consequent want of a free circulation of air, 
tend to transform these endemic complaints into con- 
tagious disease ; and the yellow fever, when intro- 
duced into this city, has been dreadfully destructive. 
These inconveniences must be allowed to be serious 
drawbacks on the eligibility of Seville as the capital 
of the empire. Mr. Townsend predicts in somewhat 
equivocal terms, that " when the navigation of the 
river shall be restored to the condition in which it 
was when Magellan with five ships sailed hence for 
those straits which have since been called by his name, 

* DoWado's Letters, pp. 56 . 

30 SPAIN. 

and when freedom, civil and religious, shall once more 
lift up her head in Spain, new channels will be opened 
for commerce, and Seville will be restored to her an- 
cient splendour." This sounds too much like de- 
ferring the event till the Greek calends ; yet, it may 
be allowed us to hope, that freedom will visit Spain 
before the Guadalquiver shall recover its ancient 
honours. The communication between Seville and 
Cadiz has been much facilitated by the establishment 
of a steam-boat, which starts every other morning 
for Bonanza, a voyage generally performed within ten 
hours : the passengers land there, and calesinas^ a 
sort of cabriolet, are in waiting to transport them to 
Santa Maria ; but the road for the four leagues is 
wretched. Mr. Townsend descended the river in a 
passage-boat to San Lucar, a passage of about six-and- 
thirty hours. The country all the way is flat, the 
soil deep, and the pastures are clothed with a perpetual 
verdure. The banks are the resort of storks, cranes, 
wild ducks, and other game, larks and various other 
birds. San Lucar (the ancient Fanum Luciferi} was 
once, at the season for the arrival or departure of the 
galleons, the most stirring place in Europe. " At 
present," says Swinburne, u it is a neat, quiet town, 
without much business. The small ships that carry 
on its trade, lie half a league further up in the Ansa, 
where the Indian flota used to moor. The river is 
wide and very rough at the bar : the opposite shore is 
so dead a flat, that it is difficult to distinguish it from 
the water. I sauntered along the Plaza de San Lucar 
without meeting a soul. How changed from what it 
was in the days of Cervantes, when it was crowded 
with the busy and the idle, the honest and the pro- 
fligate !" 

" Three long miles " from Seville, near the main 

SPAIN. 31 

road to Estremadura, is the village of Santiponze (or 
Santa Iponze) near which stands all that remains of 
the ancient Italica, the birth-place of the emperors 
Trajan, Hadrian, and Theodosius,* also of the poet 
Silius Italicus, and an episcopal city. The peasants 
call the place Sevilla Vieja, Old Seville. There is a 
rich convent here of Geronomites, called St. Isidro de 
Campo, which was used as barracks by the French, 
and has since been applied to the same purpose by 
Spanish cavalry. In the church are some fine statues. 
Swinburne, in his excursion to Santiponze, missed 
the route, and found himself at the foot of a hill 
almost square, covered with the ruins of vast towers 
and bulwarks, built of cemented mud and pebbles, 
and evidently of Moorish construction. The situation, 
he says, " is such as the judicious Romans might have 
preferred to Hispalis both for beauty and strength." 
The view it commands over Seville, the course of the 
river, and the rich plain, repaid him for the fatigue of 
climbing the height, which he found to be the site of 
Alfarache, where the Moors are said to have main- 
tained themselves for some time after the loss of 

" Of the ancient colony of Italica, supposed to have 
been composed by Scipio of his veteran soldiers, 
scarcely the least vestige remains. It is said, that the 
Moors destroyed it, not to have a rival so near Seville, 
where they intended to fix their seat of empire ; but 
I suspect this to be the surmise of some modern his- 
torian. I could not positively ascertain it, but, from 
a view of the ground, I am inclined to believe that it 
was built in imitation of Rome, on seven hills, and 
that the river Bcetis ran at the foot of them. By 

* Gibbon, chap. xxvi. (Life of Theodusius.) 

32 SPAIN. 

accidental obstructions and banks of sand, accumu- 
lated in a long series of inundations, the river may 
have been driven from its ancient bed, and forced 
more into the heart of the plain, where it now takes 
its course. Such an event as this would account for 
the ruin of a city so considerable as Italica, and, with- 
out supposing that the Saracens were at the pains of, would afford sufficient cause for giving 
the preference to Seville, which stands upon the Gua- 
dalquiver. On the summit of the first hill are some 
ruinous brick walls, called El Palacio, not in the least 
remarkable. The peasants who were here at work in 
the olive-yards, told us, that underneath there had 
formerly been found columns of silver and brass, but, 
as they were bewitched by some magician, nobody was 
ever able to draw them up ; and now, not an individual 
has the courage even to dig for them, as they have all 
the reason in the world to believe that the conjuror 
would twist their heads off for attempting it. This 
is a popular superstition, which I have found to be 
common to most countries wherever any great remains 
of vaults and ancient edifices are to be seen. On the 
most distant eminence, are considerable remains of an 
amphitheatre, built with pebbles and brick arches : 
most probably, the marble casing has been carried 
away, or destroyed by burning to lime. The form is 
a most regular oval. The arena measures, as nearly 
as the corn would allow me to be exact, one hundred 
yards in its greatest length, and sixty in its greatest 
breadth. Some of the vomitoria, cells, and passages 
are yet discernible, but scarcely any traces of the 
seats. I, however, made out twenty rows, two feet 
six inches wide, and two feet high : each step of the 
stairs of communication is one foot in height, and one 
in width. This amphitheatre is now more like Stone- 

SPAIN. 33 

henge, than a regular Roman edifice. Not far from it 
is a fine pool of water in a large vault under the hill, 
which I judge to be the remains of some aqueduct, 
as the water is too warm to be near the spring-head. 

" The corporation of Seville having occasion for 
stones to embank the river, which, by its frequent 
inundations, caused great damage to the city, ordered 
the amphitheatre of Italica to be knocked down. Many 
hands were employed to batter the walls, and to blow 
up with gunpowder such parts as resisted the pick- 
axe. By these means they procured sufficient mate- 
rials for their embankment ; but, as if the Guadal- 
quiver meant to avenge the cause of taste upon these 
barbarians, the very first flood swept away the whole 

Mr. Jacob states, that the amphitheatre had suffered 
from an earthquake more than from the lapse of 
time. The part, however, that is still left, he says, 
is sufficiently perfect to enable the traveller to form 
a good idea of its original state. A beautiful tesselated 
pavement had been discovered here, on which were 
represented the signs of the zodiac and the muses : 
the colours were quite fresh and brilliant. The sur- 
rounding country is very rich and beautiful. The 
proximity of this city to Seville, and the absence of all 
Roman ruins in the latter city, (unless the Torre del 
Oro may claim that character,) would lead one to 
doubt the pretensions of the Moorish capital to a 
higher antiquity. From the time of Scipio to that of 
Theodosius (from B.C. 200 to A.D. 350), Italica ap- 
pears to have been the chief place in this part of 
Bo?tica; and it probably rose on the ruins of the city 
of Hercules, the Phenician Hispalis, wherever was its 

* Swinburne, vol. ii. pp. 25 28. 

34 SPAIN. 

site. As to the " Little Rome " of Julius Caesar, we 
must invoke the aid of Spanish antiquaries to deter- 
mine its existence. It is not improbable, that Alfa- 
rache was originally a Roman station. 

From Seville, ascending the Guadalquiver, we must 
now retrace our steps towards the north-east, to visit 
the proud capital of the western khalifate. The route 
to Cordova, a distance of between twenty-one and 
twenty-four Spanish leagues, lies through Carmona, 
where it falls into the Roman road, a causeway 
raised above the level of the fields, and running gene- 
rally in a direct line from west to east : it is formed of 
gravel, which, not being the soil of the country, must 
have been brought from a great distance. The 
road passes through La Luisiana, a tract of land 
brought into cultivation by a colony of Germans, and 
forming their most western settlement. Their habita- 
tions, built all after the same model, are placed at 
regular distances of between two and three hundred 
yards, each in the midst of a patch of corn-land. 
About half-way between Seville and Cordova is the 
town of Eccija (the ancient Astigi), prettily situated 
between two hills on the west bank of the river Xenil, 
which traverses an immense plain on its way to 
Granada. It contained, in 1786, six parish-churches, 
eight chapels, twenty convents, six hospitals, and 
28,176 souls. The churches are built entirely of 
brick, and are fitted up in the old taste, crowded with 
pillars, which are loaded with preposterous ornaments, 
and covered with gold. There is a handsome plaza, 
and the alameda is very pleasantly laid out on the 
banks of the river. Four leagues beyond this place is 
La Carlotta, another German colony, formed about 
the year 1758, in the midst of a hilly forest of ever- 
green oaks, clumps and groves of which are still left, 

SPAIN. 35 

and, scattered amid the corn-lands, give a pleasing ap- 
pearance to the country.* On approaching Cordova, 
the land is chiefly arable, hilly, and bare. The view 
of the river, the city, and the woods on the opposite 
hills, is extremely picturesque. 


A classical interest attaches to this city, the Corduba 
and Colonia Patricia of the Romans, as the birth- 
place of the two Senecas and the poet Lucan, and the 
most ancient seat of learning in the Peninsula. 
Under the dominion of the Romans, it possessed a 
celebrated university ; and Casiri has recorded the 
names of nearly one hundred and seventy writers, 
natives of this city, to prove that its literary reputa- 
tion did not decline under its Arabian sovereigns. 
The city was founded, according to Strabo, by Mar- 
cellus, during the civil wars between Pompey and 
Caesar. It attained its highest pitch of grandeur, 
however, under the Moors, when, if we may credit 
the assertions of their historians, it contained, with 
its suburbs, no fewer than sixteen hundred mosques, 
nine hundred baths, 80,455 shops, and 262,300 houses 
of various classes, with a population of not far short 
of a million. In the civil wars which took place 
towards the latter end of the tenth century, not only 
was a great part of these buildings demolished, but 

* About twenty or thirty acres were allotted by Government to 
each family, under the obligation of remaining on the spot ten 
years ; during which time they were exempt from taxes, and were 
then to have the land made over to them in fee, on payment of a 
small quit-rent. The colony had been founded about eight years 
before Swinburne travelled ; and some hundreds of the Germans, he 
says, had died through poverty, intemperance, bad food, and 
change of climate. La Carlotta had only sixty inhabitant* in 1701, 
but the district contained f>00. Luisiana had only 240. 

36 SPAIN. 

the traces of some of the quarters were obliterated. 
A great part of the town is said to have been de- 
stroyed in 1589 by an earthquake. In the sixteenth 
century, the population had fallen to 60,000 souls ; 
and in 1803, it did not exceed 35,000. The entire 
population of the kingdom of Cordova, according to 
the census of 1787-8, was only 236,000 ; but that of 
1 803 raised it to 383,226 souls. Of its ancient gran- 
deur, the city has preserved nothing except a vast 
enclosure filled with houses half in ruins, and the 
famous mosque built by Abdulrahman in the eighth 
century, which owes its partial preservation to having 
been converted into a cathedral. The see is very 
ancient. Osius, its bishop, attended the first council 
of Nice, as legate of the holy see.* It is suffragan 
to Toledo. The city contains fifteen other parish- 
churches, forty convents, two colleges, and twenty- 
one hospicios. 

On the side of Madrid, Cordova has nothing very 
striking in its first appearance ; but, approached from 
the Cadiz side, it presents a gently-sloping amphi- 
theatre along the right bank of the Guadalquiver. 
The plain in which it is situated is of great extent, 
bounded, on the south, by swelling hills cultivated to 
their very summits, and, on the north, by a chain 
of rugged mountains, the beginning of the Sierra 
Morena. The whole country, " being well wooded, 
well watered, and well cultivated," cannot, Mr. 
Townsend says, " be surpassed either in riches or in 
beauty." He came from Madrid, and the contrast it 

_ Osius, the ancientest bishop that Christendom then had, 
the most forward in defence of the Catholic cause, and of the con- 
trary part most feared, with whose hand the Nicene creed itself 

was set down and framed for the whole Christian world to subscribe 
unto." HOOKER'S Ecd. Poi. book v. 42. 

SPAIN. 37 

presented to the bare and rugged tracts which he had 
just left, made it appear a most enchanting spot. 
Here, for the first time since he had left Barcelona 
for the capital, he again saw the fig, the orange, and 
the palm flourishing in luxuriant abundance. Mr. 
Swinburne speaks of the country in similar terms of 
admiration ; and we shall avail ourselves of his de- 
scription of the city as the fullest, though not the 
most recent account. 

u The environs are delightful, and present a rich 
variety of woods, hillocks, and culture, vivified by 
abundance of limpid water. The flat land produces 
olives and corn ; and much of it is laid out in gardens, 
where the fruit-trees grow to a remarkable size, and 
seem perfectly clean and healthy. The upper grounds 
are overrun with evergreen oaks and pines, which the 
farmers grub up in the good spots to plant olive and 
carob-trees in their stead. The farm-houses are built 
in the midst of enclosures and orchards of orange- 
trees. The Guadalquiver runs before the town, 
which it has worn into a perfect half-moon. A 
bridge of sixteen arches, defended by a large Moorish 
tower, leads from the south into Cordova ; and near 
the end of the bridge stands the mosque, now the 
cathedral. The walls of the town are in many places 
just as the Romans left them. 

" The streets are crooked and dirty. Few of either 
the public or the private buildings are conspicuous for 
their architecture. The new hospital for the education 
of orphans, has something bold and simply noble in 
its cupola and portico. The palace of the Inquisition 
and that of the bishop are extensive and well situated. 
I little expected to see in an inland town of Spain, 
such elegance as was displayed here by the nobility in 
D 2 

38 SPAIN. 

their equipages; very handsome English and French 
carriages, smart liveries, and excellent horses. The 
women seem to be in general handsome : some we saw 
on the walks, were extremely beautiful. 

" The streets round the mosque are narrow and 
ill calculated for affording a general view ; but, 
indeed, there is nothing very showy on the outside. 
The walls are plain enough and not very high ; 
the roof is hid behind battlements cut into steps. 
On the east side, the whole length is divided by 
buttresses into thirteen divisions, and there is about 
the same number on each of the other three sides. 
The doors in many of these compartments are orna- 
mented with stucco of different colours. On the 
north side is a lofty belfry, a modern building, that 
has made a total alteration in the appearance of the 
front. Seventeen gates admit you into the church 
and cloister. The cloister, the court that served the 
Mahometans for their ablutions, and as a place to 
leave their slippers in before they entered the holy 
house, is an oblong square of 510 feet (the length of 
the church) by 240. A portico of sixty-two pillars 
environs it on three sides, about twenty-five feet wide. 
The middle is taken up with three handsome and 
copioiis fountains, groves of orange-trees, and some 
towering cypresses and palms, which form a most de- 
lightful retreat in the sultry hours. 

" The grand entrance of the church is rather wider 
and loftier than the rest, and the parts are more deco- 
rated. Nothing can be more striking than the first 
step into this singular, rather than beautiful edifice. 
To acquire some idea of it, you must represent to 
yourself a vast, gloomy labyrinth, like what the 
French are so fond of in their gardens, a fine 

SPAIN. 39 

quincunx.* It is divided into seventeen aisles, or 
naves, each about twenty feet wide, by rows of columns 
of various marbles, viz. blue with white veins, yellow, 
red, red veined with white, gray, and Granadine and 
African green. These pillars are not all of the same 
height ; for the Arabs, having taken them from Ro- 
man buildings, served them in the same manner as 
Procrustes did his guests. On the short ones, they 
clapped monstrous capitals and thick bases : those that 
were too long for their purpose, had their base chopped 
off, and a diminutive, shallow bonnet was placed on 
their head. However, the thickness of the shaft is 
pretty equal throughout, about eighteen inches dia- 
meter ; and the capitals are generally barbarous imi- 
tations of those of the Corinthian order. A couple of 
arches, one above the other, rising from the columns, 
run along the rows ; and from the same base springs 
an arch that forms the roof of each aisle. 

" By several alterations and additions, the Moors 
had divided the whole mosque into four parts, marked 
out by two lines of clustered pillars crossing each other 
at right angles. Three of these portions were allotted 
to the populace and the women ; the fourth, in the 
south-east angle, was reserved for the nobility and 
clergy. In this last quarter was the Zancarron, or 
holy chapel, where they deposited the books of the 
law. The door of it faced the great gate looking down 
the principal aisle. The ornaments and architecture 
of this sanctuary, and of the throne of Almansor, 
which is in front, at the distance of six intercolumni- 
ations from it, are very different from those employed 
in the other parts. Two ranges of columns that support 

* Mr. Townsend was " exceedingly delighted" with the cathedral. 
" Its numerous pillars, arranged in quincunx, appeared like a grove 
of saplings. 

40 SPAIN. 

the screen before this penetrate, are about six i'eet 
high ; the upper ones of red and white marble, the 
lower of green, with capitals most minutely carved 
and gilt. The roof of the dark inner sanctuary is said 
to be of one block of marble 18 feet wide. If so, it is not 
only curious for its size and quality, but also for the 
ingenuity of the architect, in placing it in so perfect 
an equilibrium, as to remain unshaken for so many 
ages. The manner of casting the arches, grouping the 
columns, and designing the foliages of this screen and 
of the throne, which is an exact repetition of the screen, 
is very heavy, intricate, and barbarous, unlike all 
the Moorish architecture I saw at Granada. Indeed, 
it is many centuries more ancient than any ornamental 
work of that place. Behind this chapel and on each 
side of it, were the lodgings of the dervishes, which 
now serve for chapter -house, sacristy, and treasury. 
The church is extremely rich in plate. 

" It is scarcely possible to ascertain the exact 
number of columns in the mosque, as they originally 
stood, because great changes have been made, many 
taken away, displaced, or built up in the walls of 
chapels, and several added when the choir was erected 
in the centre of the whole. Were this choir in any 
other church, it would deserve great praise for the 
Gothic grandeur of the plan, the loftiness of the dome, 
the carving of the stalls, (which is said to have occu- 
pied twelve years,) and the elegance and high finish- 
ing of the arches and ornaments. But in the middle 
of the Moorish mosque, it destroys all unity of de- 
sign, darkens the rest, and renders confused every 
idea of the original general effect of the building. 
Many chapels stuck up in various parts between the 
pillars, interrupt the enfilade, and block up the pas- 
sage. The worst of all is a large chapel of the Virgin, 

SPAIN. 41 

which closes the main aisle exactly in the middle ; 
and the throne of Almansor is now occupied by a poor 
piece of legendary painting. 

" I can imagine no coup cToeil more extraordinary 
than that taken in by the eye, when placed in such spots 
of the church as afford a clear reach down the aisles 
at right angles, uninterrupted by chapels and modern 
erections. Equally wonderful is the appearance, when 
you look from the points that give you all the rows of 
pillars and arches in an oblique line. It is a most 
puzzling scene of confusion. Light is admitted by 
the doors~and several small cupolas ; nevertheless the 
church is dark and awful. People walking through 
this chaos of pillars, seem to answer to the romantic 
ideas of magic, enchanted knights or discontented, 
wandering spirits."* 

This mosque is called by the Spaniards La Mezquita, 
from the Arabic masgiad, a place of worship. Among 
the Moors, it is said to have been known by the name 
of Ceca ; and it was held in so high veneration, that 
pilgrims from all parts of Spain and Barbary came to 
visit it.-f The spot on which it was founded, was the 
site of a Christian church, dedicated to Saint Vincent ; 
and it is not improbable, that that church had origi- 
nally been a heathen temple. The columns in the 
mosque are supposed to have been taken from a temple 
of Janus. It was begun by Abdulrahman, the sove- 
reign of Cordova, in the year 786, and finished by his 
son Hisham, about 800. Succeeding khalifs, how- 
ever, added to it, so that the whole edifice was the 
work of eight monarchs of the house of Ummaiya 
(or Moawiyah). It was originally an oblong building, 

* Swinburne, vol. ii. pp. 536, 8(>-94. 

t Hence the speech of Sancho in Don Quixote : " Dcxadnos de 
andar de Ceca en Meca." 

42 SPAIN. 

510 feet by 420 in breadth, with a flat roof resting 
upon arches, which did not rise more than 35 feet 
above the pavement, and borne up, according to one 
Arabian writer, by 1,409 marble pillars, forming nine- 
teen aisles from east to west, and twenty-nine from 
north to south.* The twenty-one gates were plated 
with brass curiously embossed, and the folding-doors 
of the principal entrance were plated with gold. Upon 
the highest cupola, which was covered with copper, 
were three pomegranates, two of gold and one of 
silver, surmounted by a fleur de luce of the more 
precious metal. The tower or minaret was 72 cubits 
in height. Four thousand seven hundred lamps 
burned in the mosque every night, consuming an- 
nually nearly 20,000 Ibs. of oil ; and 60 Ibs. of aloes- 
wood, and 60 Ib. of ambergrease were required for the 

The ancient palace of the Moorish sovereigns has 
been converted into stables for the royal stud of horses, 
the finest and best regulated in Andalusia. These 
stables contained in 1792, 612 horses of all ages, whose 
genealogy was carefully preserved, and the name and 
age of each written over the stall. The horses of the 
kingdom of Jaen are esteemed the best breed. The 
Alcazar, another Moorish palace, was occupied by the 
Inquisition. The bridge over the Guadalquiver is a 
Moorish superstructure on a Roman foundation. These 
comprise all the remaining monuments of the Saracenic 
capital. The manufactures have shared in the general 
decay : there are now only some trifling ones of ribands, 
lace, hats, and baize. The leather for which this city 
was once so famous, no longer gives employment to its 

* Mr. Swinburne thinks, that there could never have been more 
than seventeen, and he states the number of columns at 778. 
Double columns were reckoned as two. 

SPAIN. 43 

cordwainers.* Its literary glories have in like man- 
ner completely passed away : the Goths have succeeded 
to the Moors, f Cordova stands in lat. 37 52* 13" N., 
long. 4 45' 53"; it is 84 miles N.E. of Seville, 112 
N.W. of Malaga, and about 210 S.W. of Madrid. 

Between three and four miles to the north of the 
city, " under Mount Alarus," there formerly stood, 
if the Arabian historians may be believed, a palace 
built by the Khalif Annasir, at the instigation of his 
favourite mistress Azzahra, and named after her, 
which was the most stupendous and magnificent ever 
erected since the days that the genii toiled for King 
Solomon. The description of it seems borrowed from 
Arabian fable. It was begun in the year 936, but, in 
about seventy years after its erection, was pillaged 
and greatly injured by a rebel army. A few ruins 
at a place called Cordova la Vieja (Old Cordova), 
are supposed to indicate the site of this transitory 

From Cordova, Swinburne proceeded across the 
Sierra Morena, and through the bare, arid pl:.ins 
of La Mancha, to the ancient capital of the Castiles. 
Of this Traveller's lively narrative, we shall now 
avail ourselves in taking a reluctant leave of the 
south of Spain, the fertile and once populous king* 
doms of Andalusia. 

* Cordwainer, which we obtain from the French corduannier, 
corrupted into cordoniei-, is in fact derived from cordovan, leather 
brought from Cordua Cordova. 

t The bibliomania once reigned at Cordova, which was the 
paradise of booksellers. When a learned man died at Seville, and 
his books were to be sold, they were usually conveyed for that 
purpose to Cordova. When a musician died at Cordova, and his 
effects were to be disposed of, it was the custom to send them to 

44 SPAIX. 


" THE fine vale of the Guadalquiver, which runs 
between two ridges of hills, is covered with hanging 
woods and olive-yards. Several clear streams traverse 
the plain, and fall into the river. The ancient raised 
road, be it Roman or Moorish, was always most accept- 
able to us, whenever we got upon it, for it is a fine hard 
gravel, above the level of dirt and water. Every brook 
had once its bridge ; but scarcely one in twenty now 
remains. For two days we travelled up the river. 
The country it waters is very rich and beautiful, the 
plains charmingly streaked with rows of olive-trees, 
towns and castles occurring along the banks, the 
northern hills darkened with woods, and all the dis- 
tant eminences of the south green with corn. This 
luxuriance of vegetation and fatness of soil rendered 
the roads abominably deep. The cliffs along the river 
side swarmed with flocks of a most elegant bird called 
the abejaruxa, or bee-eater. It is about the size of a 
blackbird, the back of a light brown shaded with 
burnished gold, ending towards the head in a pale 
yellow ; mixed with a greenish blue about the beak, 
which is long, black, sharp, and straight ; the throat 
yellow ; the breast of a fine blue, with a narrow black 
line down it ; the upper part of the tail azure, the 
under brown ; the wings of a brownish yellow, sur- 
rounded with a blue stripe, tipped with black. At El 
Carpio is a Moorish mill or engine, with three huge 
wheels, which raise the water to a great height, to 
enrich a large level tract. The landscape near is very 
pleasing. At Anduxar,* we took leave of the Roman 

* from Andujar, the direct road to Madrid is for the most part 
the same as that taken by Swinburne. Another road leads S.W. 

Sl'AIN. 45 

road, and of the river, of which, however, we had now 
and then a distant peep from the heights, and en- 
tered the Sierra Morena, the chain of mountains 
that divides Castile from Andalusia, rendered famous 
by the wars of the Christians and the Mahometans ; 
but perhaps better known as the scene where the im- 
mortal Cervantes has placed the most entertaining ad- 
ventures of his hero. As we were near the eastern ex- 
tremity, the land, though very high, and commanding 
a vast prospect to the south, did not in the least 
resemble a ridge of mountains, such as the Alps, the 
Pyrenees, or many others. It did not appear much 
more broken and elevated than many parts of England 
which are well inhabited and cultivated. The journey 
was very agreeable up the course of the Rio de las 
Piedras, a clear, roaring torrent, tumbling over a bed 
of rocks through glens of beautiful woods. The wastes 
are covered with a profuse variety of flowering shrubs, 
particularly many varieties of the cistus, among which 
the gum-cistus, or rock-rose, is the handsomest. They 
gather manna from it in the spring by beating the 
bushes with small twigs, to which the viscous sub- 
stance which exudes from the plant adheres. Sumach 
also grows in great abundance on these hills. It is 
cut down in August : the leaves, flower, and stalk are 

to Antequera, distant nineteen Spanish leagues ; and a third to 
Granada, through Jaen. The latter city, (distant six leagues,) 
once the capital of a small kingdom, and now an episcopal see, 
contains less than 30,<>00 inhabitants. It is a walled town, situated 
in a fertile and well-watered valley, at the foot of a mountain of 
marble, a league from the river Guadalbera and two from the 
Guadalquiver. Andujar is the first town in Jaen on coming from 
La Mancha : it contains five parish-churches, ten convents, a castle 
of high antiquity, and above 6,000 families. M. Bourgoing styles 
it one of the richest and most ancient cities in Spain, but it is 
reckoned insalubrious. It is said to have borne the names of Illi- 
turgis and Forum Julium. It trades chiefly in silk. 

46 SPAIN*. 

all pounded together, and used in lieu of oak-bark in 
dressing hides. 

" We now entered the colony of La Carolina and 
its dependencies, planted eight years ago by the king. 
in a very extensive tract of woody, mountainous 
country. The first settlers were Germans ; but, 
from eating unwholesome herbs, and drinking too 
much wine and brandy, above half of them died ; and 
now the inhabitants are a mixture of Germans, French, 
Savoyards, Catalonians, and other Spaniards. The tract 
of land, now in cultivation and full of villages, where 
there was nothing before but forests, the retreats of 
banditti, extends at least three leagues in length, and, 
I believe, very little less in breadth. They talk of 
10,000 families being already settled here. La Caro- 
lina, the capital of all these colonies, stands on a line 
hill, that towers over the whole settlement, and, in- 
deed, over most part of the provinces of Granada and 
Cordova. For the sake of overlooking the rest of the 
plantations, they have placed it on a spot deficient in 
wood and water, and reduced themselves to the neces- 
sity of digging an incredible number of wells for the 
purposes of drinking and watering their gardens. 
The whole town is new from the foundations, for 
there was not a cottage there eight years ago. The 
streets are wide and drawn in straight lines. The 
houses are upon a uniform plan, without the least 
decoration. The church fronts the principal south 
road, and a tower, placed at each angle, marks the 
extent of the town, which is to be an exact square. 
The market-place and another square are very spacious 
and showy. All the flat on the crown of the hill is laid 
out in kitchen-gardens, and planted with avenues of 
elms, to serve hereafter for public walks. Three 
hundred Catalonian manufacturers came to settle here 

SPAIN. 47 

in the course of last year (1775).* We found here 
an excellent inn and a good dinner, and regaled our- 
selves upon excellent cow's milk and butter, to which 
we had long been strangers ; for, though they have 
cows in many parts of Spain, they seldom milk them, 

* The founder of these settlements was D. Pablo de Olavide, a 
Peruvian, who, under the patronage of the Conde d'Aranda, was 
made axnstente de Sew/to. " While in this employment, he con- 
ceived the idea of introducing agriculture and arts in the deserted 
mountains of the Sierra, where rapine and violence had for ages 
established then- dominion. The difficulty was to procure settlers. 
One Turrigel, of Bavaria, contracted for 6,000 husbandmen ; but, 
instead of men trained to agriculture, he brought only vagabonds, 
who all either died or were dispersed." Settlers were then invited 
(on the conditions already mentioned) from all parts of Germany. 
Their numbers in 1786, according to Government returns, were 
7,868 adults, of whom the husbandmen were 1,784, day-labourers 
411, and artisans 172. " Considering that all these were assembled 
and established in less than seven years," adds Mr. Townsend, " we 
must admire the energy and zeal of Olavide. They have been 
collected at a vast expense from distant countries, and enjoy sin- 
gular immunities ; yet, the colony is far from prospering," owing 
principally to " the want of a market for their surplus produce." 
M. Bourgoing, however, assigns other reasons. " The flourishing 
state into which they were brought by D. Pablo Olavide, did not 
long continue after his disgrace. The moderate sums allotted for 
their support, were not punctually paid ; their zeal slackened, and 
their operations were interrupted. Besides this, the ministers were 
too hasty in exacting taxes from the new colonists, in order to shew 
the court that this establishment was capable of indemnif ying it in 
a few years for the sums advanced. The German colonists have 
mostly disappeared. Those who remained were gradually amal- 
gamated with the Spanish natives ; and for these twelve years past, 
there has not been a priest here who spoke the German language. 
Of late, however (1794), this interesting colony has begun to justify 
the encouragement bestowed upon it. The merit of such a creation 
can be fully appreciated only by those who have beheld this district 
in its state of depopulation and sterility." Mr. Semple says, that 
they still preserved (in 1805) many of the manners and customs, 
and even much of the complexion and language of the original 
colonists. " All the walls were whitewashed, and every utensil 
appeared bright and clean. The whole family was attentive to my 

48 SPAIN. 

but keep them for breeding, and fattening in their 
old days for slaughter. 

" A little north of La Carolina we passed through a 
new village, called Las Navas de Tolosa, from the old 
name of the defile in the neighbouring mountains. 
We crossed the Sierra Morena at the pass called El 
Puerto del Rey. The road is far from bad, though 
steep ; but the mountain is as dreary and disagreeable 
as can be. In the days of Cervantes, there were, per- 
haps, noble woods to cover all the present nakedness, 
as here and there some venerable pines and chesnut- 
trees remain, sad monuments of ancient forests. All 
La Mancha before us seems to be a bare corn country, 
ugly and tedious beyond expression. 

" We perceived a very severe alteration in the cli- 
mate as soon as we descended the Sierra Morena and 
entered La Mancha. From the beginning of summer 
(April 27th), we were in a manner thrown back to 
the last months of winter. In Andalusia, the vines 
were all in leaf, and their fruit set, the flowers of the 
shrubs falling off to make way for the seed. On the 
northern side of the mountains scarcely a fresh leaf 
was to be seen, or a bud in the vineyards, and the 
poor starved bushes had just a flower or two blown. 
The weather was cold and raw. In a word, it is dif- 
ficult to conceive of so sudden and so thorough a 
change of seasons as that which we experienced in 
this journey. 

wants ; and at supper, instead of a ragout of oil and garlick, they 
set before me a German mess of fried bacon, eggs, and good cab- 
bage. Heaven rest the soul of the patriotic physician who settled 
these honest Germans amid the mountains of the Sierra Morena ; 
for since my coming to Spain, I have not made so good a supper." 
See TOWNSKND, vol. ii. p. 290. BOURGOING, vol. iii. p. 77. 
SBMPLE, vol. i. p. 128. 

SPAIN. 49 

" La Mancha is an immense plain, intersected by 
different ridges of low hills and rocks, without an 
enclosure of any kind, except mud walls about the 
villages ; and really, I can almost say, there is not a 
tree to be seen from the Sierra Morena to Toledo, 
nor from the banks of the Tagus to Madrid. A few- 
dwarfish evergreen oaks, huddled together in nooks of 
hills, and some stumpy olive-plants, scarcely deserve 
the name of trees. All this vast tract of open country 
is cultivated in corn or vines : there cannot be an 
uglier. The villages are large ; few or no single 
houses, and not a venta that I could fix upon for the 
scene of any action in Don Quixote. We lay at Puerto 
Lapiche, a small village mentioned by Cervantes. The 
houses are built with mud and gravel. The women 
cover their heads with coloured handkerchiefs, and 
their necks with laced palatinas. 

" A few miles off the road are seen the Ojos de la 
Guadiana,* where the jiver, after running eight 
leagues under-ground, rises up to day, and thence 
takes its course towards Estremadura. We passed 
over the subterraneous river at the Venta de Quesada, 
where the well in the yard communicates with it. 

* M. Peyron says: " It has been pretended, that the river Gua- 
diana runs under-ground for several miles, and that the road lies 
over it, which, it is asserted, gave occasion to a Spaniard ; who 
was a slave hi Africa, to say, that his king was one of the most 
powerful monarchs in the world, and that, among other wonders 
to be found in his dominions, there was a bridge seven leagues 
long. But this bridge is a mere fable, according to the best geo- 
graphers, who assure us that the Guadiana does not really flow 
under-ground, but only runs between the windings of some high 
mountains which conceal it from the sight for a considerable dis- 
tance, after which it again appears at the lakes called Los Qjos de la 
Guadiana" If M. Peyron be correct, it is not a little singular, 
that not only Swinburne, but both Laborde and Bourgoing should 
have adopted the popular error. 

50 SPAIN- 

Straw, or any kind of light stuff, dropped into the 
well, is hurried away with such rapidity by the 
stream, that you will not bring up a single straw, 
though you let down the bucket almost instanta- 


" TOLEDO," continues Swinburne, u is the strangest 
city imaginable in point of situation. The Tagus, 
after winding at large through a fine plain, comes at 
last to be wedged in between two ramparts of high, 
steep rocks. The passage is very narrow ; and before 
the river gets out again into a broad bed and open 
ground, it almost returns to the place where it entered 
the defile. On this rocky peninsula stands the city, 
exceedingly ill built, poor, and ugly. The streets are 
so steep that no stranger in his sober senses would 
venture up or down them in a carriage. 

" The Alcazar, or ancient palace, is a noble and 
extensive building, and had recently undergone a 
thorough repair at the expense of the archbishop, who 
has also made a new road to Aranjuez. The archi- 
tecture is chaste and unaffected. The inner court is 
very grand. Its colonnade of granite columns, of the 
Corinthian order, makes a noble appearance. The 
chapel is lofty and narrow, with a balcony in each 
story of the house that leads into it. The stables are 
under the kitchens and offices, and are large enough 
to contain a considerable number of horses. The 
upper story is one open gallery for playing in, above 
80 yards in length. In the middle stories are several 
large halls, the most spacious of which measures about 
160 feet by 36. 

" The cathedral has nothing particularly beautiful 

SPAIN. 51 

on the outside above the common run of Gothic 
churches. It is not to be compared with many we 
have in England. The steeple is in the ugly style of 
the Flemish and German spires, a heap of blue turrets 
piled one upon another. The inside is well lighted 
and cheerful, neither heavy nor confused with too 
many ornaments. The decorations added of late 
years are not in the best taste, but in richness of gild- 
ing are unrivalled. The wealth of the archbishop 
and chapter displays itself in the profusion of gold 
lavished on the walls. They have gilded the iron rails, 
the Gothic arches, and even drawn lines of gold to 
mark the joints of the stones with which the pillars of 
the choir are built. The groupe of angels, called El 
Transparente, which is fixed behind the choir, and 
esteemed by the Toledans the glory of their church, 
is at best but a clumsy, ill-designed monument, re- 
markable only for the fineness of the marble and other 

This cathedral, one of the most ancient sacred edi- 
fices in the peninsula, and which is still the metropo- 
litan church of Madrid, has been, like that of Cor- 
dova, a mosque ; -j- and long after Toledo had been 
taken from the Moors by Alfonso VI. in 1085, it re- 
tained that form, until the reign of Ferdinand the 
Saint. " The greater part of it is certainly very 

* Bourgoing terms it, a wretched piece of sculpture, which 
disfigures, instead of embellishing the church. 

t Laborde states, that it was first a church under the Gothic 
kings, the date of its original consecration being A.D. 630. The 
exterior, he says, is disgraced by the mean and incongruous facade. 
The church is 348 feet in length by 174, and has five aisles, dimi- 
nishing in height from the nave : the centre is 138 feet in height. 
They are formed by arches resting on 84 groupes of columns. 
" Considered as a whole, this edifice is neither noble nor magnifi- 
cent, being disfigured by the position of the choir." 

52 SPAIN. 

ancient," says Mr. Semple ; " but, about three hun- 
dred years ago, it was partly rebuilt, and this rebuild- 
ing or beautifying has been executed by some one igno- 
rant of the principles and true beauties of the Gothic 
architecture ; so that it now exhibits a jumble of styles, 
which renders it inferior to Westminster Abbey or 
York Minster. The roof, however, is simple and ele- 
gant; but they totally deprive the whole of its ancient 
and venerable appearance, by daubing all the interior 
with whitewash, besides loading the walls with sta- 
tues, shrines, relics, paintings, and gilded crucifixes." 
Several of the chapels are remarkable for their monu- 
ments. In the choir are the tombs of four kings of 
Castile, commonly called Los Reyes Viejos, the ancient 
kings ; and a magnificent chapel, called de los If eyes 
Nuevos, contains those of ten Castilian sovereigns. 
The cloister is of vast extent and fine proportions. 
Besides its cathedral, Toledo contains twenty-five 
parish-churches,* sixteen monasteries, twenty-three 
nunneries, and fourteen hospicios. Several of these 
edifices are ancient, and some are handsome. Mr. 
Semple was particularly struck with that of San Juan 
de los Reyes, a beautiful Gothic church, not charge- 
able with the same defects as the cathedral. It 
belongs to the Franciscans, and was built by Ferdinand 
and Isabella. Laborde says, that " it has nothing 
remarkable except the iron and chains that cover the 
outside of the walls, and which were worn by the 
Christians found in slavery at Granada at the time of 
the conquest ;" a doubtful legend. Bourgoing men- 
tions the hospital of San Juan Battista as exhibiting, 
in the beauty and judiciousness of its proportions, 

* Laborde says, seventy-nine churches, which must evidently 
be a mistake. 

SPAIN. 53 

a proof of the good taste of the founder, Cardinal 

"At Toledo," adds the last-mentioned writer, " the 
traveller may also admire the remains of an ingenious 
machine, invented by an Italian, to raise the waters 
of the Tagus to the city. Near these ruins are some 
others still more ancient, which must have formed 
part of an aqueduct designed to convey water to the 
height of the Alcazar, from springs seven or eight 
leagues distant ; a legacy at once useful and mag- 
nificent, by which the Romans have marked their 
residence in more than one place in Spain. We also re- 
cognise in the environs of the city, the traces of one of 
their ancient roads and the remains of a circus. Thus, 
in turn, have the Romans, the Arabs, the Goths, and 
the Spaniards under Charles V. contributed to the em- 
bellishment of Toledo. We cannot say so much for the 
modern Spaniards. Houses unoccupied, magnificent 
buildings falling into decay, few or no manufactories, 
a population reduced from 200,000 souls to 25,000, 
the environs naked and barren, such is the melan- 
choly picture presented to the traveller whom the re- 
putation of Toledo has attracted within its walls 

Deserted, narrow, and winding streets, destitute alike 
of affluence and industry, ill agree with the idea we 
should form of a city, which has been honoured with 
the title of imperial ever since it was taken from the 
Moors, which disputes pre-eminence with Burgos in 
the cortes of Castile, has long been considered as the 
capital, and still contains a variety of monuments to 
attest its ancient grandeur." 

Toledo has suffered repeatedly from the fury of civil 

war. Thrice it was besieged by the Moors during the 

first thirty years of the twelfth century, but in every 

instance without being taken. But, in 1467, it was 

E2 - 

54 SPAIV. 

laid waste by fire and sword, and several of its district* 
were razed to the ground. The same sanguinary 
scenes were renewed in 1641. It owes its depopula- 
tion, however, chiefly to the ruin of its manufactures, 
together with the whimsical creation of Madrid. The 
manufactures of Toledo were formerly numerous and 
flourishing. At the commencement of the seventeenth 
century, its woollen manufactures, though in a de- 
clining state, afforded occupation to 38,250 individuals. 
Its silk manufactories were equally important ; and a 
considerable branch of its trade was supplied by the 
fabrication of needles and of swords, Toledo blades* 
being once not less famous than Cordova leather, or 
than Xeres wine, and Seville oranges, and Malaga 
raisins are now. An attempt was made by the vene- 
rable prelate already mentioned, towards the close of 
the last century, to revive several of these branches of 
industry. The Alcazar was transformed into a sort 
of house of industry ; and a handsome edifice, about a 
quarter of a league from the city, was allotted by the 
crown to a sword manufactory. Since then, a genera- 
tion has passed away, and desolating wars have taken 
place. The plunderer has again visited Toledo ; not 
the Moor, but the Gaul. " The treasures and wealth 
of this cathedral," says an English officer who visited 
it in 1809, " inferior, perhaps, only to those of 

* It has been thought, that the excellence of the Toledo steel 
may have been owing originally to Damascus workmen. Virgil, 
however, is supposed to allude to the excellence of the Spanish steel 
in his first Georgic : 

At chalybcs nudiferrum 
rendered by Dryden, 

' And naked Spaniards temper steel for war." 

And Diodorus Siculus states, that the Celtiberians give such temper 
to their steel that no helmet can resist their stroke. 

SPAIN' 55 

Loretto, have disappeared.* They have been torn 
forth by the daring hand of plunder. Many of the 
best pictures this church could once boast of, have been 
removed ; but in the cloisters are several fine paintings 
by Bayeux (and Maella), whose designs and colouring 
are very pleasing. The day of the pomp, pride, and 
power of this cathedral is gone by. Six hundred 
ecclesiastics once belonged to the service. The present 
number of officiating priests is inconsiderable ; nor 
are they now either powerful or wealthy. The 
memory of Cardinal Ximenes is greatly venerated in 
Toledo, and a prayer for his soul is repeated daily at 
the close of high mass. I walked from the cathedral 
to the Alcazar, a palace built on the site of the ancient 
residence of the Gothic kings by Charles the Fifth, 
and long occupied by him. Its grand staircase and 
spacious gallery, no longer crowded with guards and 
courtiers, are now dirty, deserted, and silent. This 
edifice, however, though neglected and decaying, still 
wears a stately and imposing aspect ; and its hand- 
some front, immense quadrangle, and elegant colon, 
nade declare it to have been the pride and ornament 

* " The treasures of this cathedral," says Townsend, " struck 
me with astonishment. La Custodia, an elegant silver model of the 
cathedral, by Enrique de Arfe, weighs 22,000 oz., and took fifty-five 
ounces of pure gold for gilding. It contains a multitude of pillars, 
and more than two hundred little silver images of exquisite work- 
manship. In the centre of this edifice is placed a shrine of massive 
gold, weighing fifty pounds : another, which occasionally supplies 
the place of this, contains a statue of the infant Jesus, made of pure 
gold, and adorned with eight hundred precious stones. In four 
separate closets are four large silver images standing on globes of 
silver, each two feet in diameter, representing Europe, Asia, Africa, 
and America, with their several emblems, given by Anne of New- 
bourgh. The grand silver throne on which is placed the Virgin, 
wearing a crown, and adorned with a profusion of the most costly 
gems, weighs fifty arrobas ( 1 ,250 Ibs. ) In the-chapel of the Virgin is 
an altar covered with gold and silver." TOWXSEND, vol. i. p. 300. 

56 SPAIN. 

of a happier period. Its situation is very commanding. 
It stands on the edge of a rocky precipice, nearly 
perpendicular, at the bottom of which, but full five 
hundred feet below it, the Tagus flows. As I toiled 
through the steep, narrow, inconvenient streets, 
I never felt one movement of impatience ; for the 
extreme antiquity of this city gives it an irresistible 
character of interest ; and the religio loci always 
operates most delightfully on the fancy. Hannibal 
won this spot for Carthage ; Romans dwelt in it ; 
Gothic kings reigned in it ; Moors have possessed it ; 
and some of the turreted walls still surrounding it 
were built by them ; Spaniards, with their blood, last 
purchased, and still hold it. What a flight for the 
imagination to travel back, to conjure up the various 
scenes acted in the city, and to see sovereigns, war- 
riors, and prelates, whose mouldering dust now sleeps 
beneath your feet, pass in review before you!"* 
" From its situation," remarks Mr. Semple, " it is 
certainly better adapted than Madrid to be the metro- 
polis of the empire. Before the use of artillery, its 
local advantages were many and valuable. And not- 
withstanding its present state of decay, Avhen we 
reflect that Livy mentions it as a town existing more 
than two thousand years ago, it is not improbable that 
it may still exist, when Madrid, the mere creation of 
caprice and despotic power, shall have dwindled to a 
village, or stand, like Palmyra, a landmark in the 

Toledo is situated upon the right bank of the 
Tagus, twelve leagues from Madrid, and seven from 
Aranjuez. The river was formerly navigable, and 
Laborde says, might again be rendered so with little 

* Recollections of the Peninsula, pp. 2014. 

SPAIN. 57 

trouble and expense. " In 1588, boats passed from 
Toledo to Lisbon ; and tbe quay below the town, 
known by the name of the Plazuela de las Barcas^ is 
still in a perfect state. These voyages were totally 
suspended in the reign of Philip III." There are 
two bridges here over the Tagus. That of Alcantara 
(i.e. the Bridge), which is of almost terrific height, is 
of Roman foundation : it has three arches, on one of 
which appears the inscription CECILIA MARCELLA, 
H. s. E., and is guarded by a handsome gate. It has 
been repaired by the Moors, and again in 1258, after 
it had been partly destroyed by a flood. About 200 
paces from this bridge, on the road to Aranjuez, com- 
mences a noble avenue a quarter of a mile in length, 
and branching out to the banks of the river, which 
forms the principal promenade. There is another 
alameda on the road to Talavera ; but both are at an 
inconvenient distance for pedestrians. The situation 
of Toledo renders it extremely hot in summer ; and 
there are neither wells nor fountains in the city to 
afford the usual luxury of the Moorish towns. Water 
is brought from a distance on asses. Laborde gives a 
very repulsive description of the place. According to 
him, it is ill-paved, dreary, and altogether disagree- 
able. There are no spectacles, no place of public 
resort, few gentry among the residents ; the trade is 
circumscribed to a few shops ; the grandees are 
lawyers ; priests, friars, and students constitute its 
principal population ; in fact, it is destitute of all 
pretensions to beauty or majesty and every social 
attraction. This splenetic description, however, is by 
no means quite correct, for there is a theatre ; and 
the English officer was present also at a ball given in 
the archbishop's palace. M. Bourgoing is not in a 

58 SPAIX. 

much better humour with Toledo. He thus speaks 
of the little garden-houses of the citizens in the en- 
virons. " They would never forgive me, were I to 
pass over in silence their cigarrales, or small country- 
houses, which have some resemblance to the bastides 
of Marseilles, only they are less ornamented and more 
numerous. Here, in the heat of the dog-days, they 
retire after dinner to seek coolness and repose in the 
shade of the orchards ; but they cannot reach them 
without traversing the scorching soil of some burnt 
up meadow, or climbing some rugged hill : yet, 
these are the gardens of Eden to the inhabitants of 

From the ancient capital to within half a league of 
Madrid, the roads, in Swinburne's time, were as bad 
as in any part of the kingdom, and the country 
extremely ugly. " I do not imagine," he says, " that 
the most pitiful city in the Peninsula can make a more 
despicable figure, than the metropolis of all the Spains 
does from the opposite hills, as you approach it on the 
south side. Neither tree, villa, nor garden is seen 
until you arrive at the avenues of the town. The 
corn-fields run up close to the houses. In short, 
the whole landscape around is the barest and most 
melancholy I ever beheld. But as soon as the trees 
of the walks shut out the prospect of the neighbour- 
ing country, the appearance of Madrid is grand and 
lively." Before we enter the capital, however, we 
must bring up our other Travellers. 

The route to Madrid usually taken by travellers, is 
from Bayonne, by St. Jean de Luz. Mr. Townsend 
went by way of Barcelona ; Mr. Semple from Lisbon, 
proceeding southward from Madrid. We shall avail 
ourselves of their narratives, however, in describing 

SPAIN. 59 

somewhat more minutely than Swinburne has enabled 
us to do, the tract of country lying between the capital 
and the southern provinces. 


THE elevated plain of the two Castiles and La 
Mancha, to which on every side the traveller has to 
ascend, may be pretty correctly considered as the 
centre of the peninsula formed by the Bay of Biscay, 
the Atlantic, and the Mediterranean.* The ascent 
from the western coast is generally in terraces ; for, 
though the traveller has sometimes to descend into 
valleys, it is constantly obvious that a higher country 
lies before him. The same is evidently the case with 
regard to the other coasts, as appears from the courses 
of the principal rivers, which all rise towards the 
centre of Spain, and fall in every direction, except the 
northern, into the Mediterranean or the Atlantic. 
That none of the great rivers fall into the Bay of 
Biscay, is owing to the direction of the high moun- 
tains of Asturias and Biscay, which run almost paral- 
lel with the coast. Hence, the streams which flow 
down their northern declivities, having comparatively 
a small extent of country to traverse, never collect a 
volume of water sufficient to form rivers of any note. 

* " The interior of Spain forms a vast plain, which, elevated 300 
toises above the level of the ocean, is covered with secondary for- 
mations, grit-stone, gypsum, sal-gem, and the calcareous stone of 
Jura. The climate of the Castiles is much colder than that of 
Toulon and Genoa ; for its mean temperature scarcely rises to 15 
of the centigrade thermometer (59 Fahr.). The plain of La 
Mancha, if placed between the sources of the Niemen and the 
Borysthenes, would figure as a groupe of mountains of considerable 
height." HUMBOLDT, Pers. Narr. vol. i. pp. 17, 22. See also 
p. 10 of our first volume. 

60 SPAIN. 

Such are the Navia, the Pravia, the Cares, the Rio de 
Suaiices, and numerous others. At equal distances 
from the summits, the streams which flow northward 
and those which take an opposite course will be 
found, perhaps, of equal importance ; but the former 
soon join the sea, while the latter, winding through 
a long extent of country, contribute to swell the 
mighty waters of the Ebro, as it traverses the whole 
breadth of Spain to the south-east. In travelling 
from Lisbon to Madrid, and from Madrid to Cadiz, 
the traveller describes two equal sides of a triangle, 
each about 400 miles in length, of which the tract of 
coast from Lisbon to Cadiz may be considered as 
forming the base. In this route, he crosses three 
principal rivers, the Tagus, the Guadiana, and the 
Guadalquiver, all flowing to the Atlantic, each having 
its peculiar character. The Tagus, with a rapid de- 
scent, seems to hold its impetuous course, of more than 
four hundred miles, chiefly at the bottom of a long, 
deep, narrow valley, which it has perhaps worn for 
itself in the course of ages. The banks of the Gua- 
diana, on the contrary, are, for the most part, of a 
more yielding and sandy nature ; and in those parts 
where the soil is softest, the bed of the river naturally 
enlarges, and the current, spreading over a wide 
surface, becomes less rapid : thus, by the wise laws 
of nature, its fury prepares bounds for itself. The 
Guadalquiver, the favourite stream of the Arabian 
poets, partakes more of the nature of the Guadiana 
than of that of the Tagus : its banks are generally 
of a moderate height, too often bare, but in many 
parts traversing extensive pasture-lands. The towns 
on this river attest the former greatness of the 
Moors. While the Tagus may boast of Toledo and 

SPAIN. 61 

the " doubtful honour" of Lisbon, and the Guadiana 
of Merida and Badajoz, the Guadalquiver has Andujar, 
Cordova, and Seville. 

" From Badajos to Madrid," says Mr. Semple, 
" not a single town or village, near which we passed, 
had the air of neatness or of thriving. Vast tracts of 
the finest soil are left uncultivated ; and a general 
appearance of wretchedness is spread over a country 
which, under proper administration, might be ren- 
dered the finest in Europe. Travelling from Madrid 
to Cadiz, we observe, on the contrary, that no sooner 
have we gained the summit of the Sierra Morena, and 
begin to descend to the south-west, than the country 
begins to wear a more pleasing appearance. The 
villages are neater, the houses better built, and the 
fields better cultivated ; but, above all, the inhabitants 
seem more cheerful, better clothed,* and better fed. 
Such is the case, more or less, throughout Anda- 

M. Peyron tells us, that La Mancha is the most 
cheerful country in Spain ; that is, as he explains 
himself, the province in which the inhabitants sing 
and dance the most. " Their songs and seguidillas," 
he adds, " are peculiar to that part of the kingdom ; 

* " In Andalusia, the cloak and hat are of the same form as 
those of the more northern provinces, but the under dress is much 
more gay. The breeches have handsome gilt buttons of filagree 
work all along the seam from the hip to the knee, and the white 
cotton stocking is bound under it by a silk cord and tassel. The 
jacket is also ornamented profusely with gilt hanging buttons, and 
is made of stuff, silk, or cloth, according to the taste or means of 
the wearer. The waistcoat is generally of a gaudy pattern or plain 
white ; and the middling and less affluent orders take peculiar pride 
in displaying a snow-white shirt, with a neatly plaited frill and an 
open collar. They very seldom wear a neck-cloth of any sort. 
Their dress is eminently becoming." QUIN'S Visit, p. 2%. 

f Semple, vol. i. pp. 200 205. 

62 SPAJX. 

and to singing and dancing, the Manchegas add the 

merit of poetry The stranger is astonished at 

seeing a labourer in the dress of Sancho Panza, and 
wearing a broad leathern girdle, dancing with grace, 
precision, and measure."* There is no labourer or 
female peasant, he tells us, who is not well acquainted 
with Don Quixote and Sancho ; and in the venta of 
Quesada, there is a well which still bears his name. 
Laborde gives a statement in flat contradiction to his 
learned countryman, but, as is usual with him, not a 
little at variance with itself. Thus, he tells us, the 
people differ little in their manners from those of 
Castile, but are still more grave, formal, and solemn, 
taking no pleasure in any sort of dissipation or even 

* " I was surprised to find, (at El Viso, at the foot of the Sierra,) 
the difference which a few leagues had made in the appearance of 
the people. An old man was seated at the door of the posada, 
who was dressed in a dark-coloured cloth waistcoat and breeches ; 
the breeches tied at the knee, and hanging over the tie to the calf 
of his leg ; black stockings and montora, with a cloak of the same 
coloured cloth as his waistcoat. He had a thin face, sallow com- 
plexion, long black hair, and a grisly beard of some three weeks' 
growth ; his deportment was grave and solemn, and his counte- 
nance pensive and severe. Though he was the landlord of the 
inn, he paid little attention to me, and it was with some trouble 
that I drew him into conversation ; however, at length, I found 
him very conversant in the affairs of the village ; but his ideas did 
not carry him many miles beyond it. Most of the men of the 
town were clothed in the same manner, with this dark-coloured 
cloth, which is made of the undyed wool of black sheep, each 
family fabricating a sufficient quantity for its own use. The 
women wore jackets and aprons of the like stuff, with a kind of 
linsey-woolsey petticoat, red stockings, beads and many trinkets 
about their necks, with their black hair tied behind, the smarter 
girls wearing silver combs. Every one seemed to have a more 
sedate appearance and more mysterious air than I had seen in 
Andalusia. I have been told, and I find it true, that, to read Don 
Quixote with satisfaction, a man must visit this province ; for 
the people are almost as romantic now as in his days." DAL- 
BVMPLE'S Travels (1775), p. 29. 

SPAIN. 63 

of diversion ; yet, they are mild, peaceable, and truly 
good-humoured, as well as laborious and frugal ; 
nevertheless, owing to the deadness of trade, the 
people are miserable ; scarcely any thing is to be seen 
but the traces of wretchedness ; and a great number 
of the country people are in want of bread three parts 
of the year. Mr. Semple, on the contrary, u could 
not help noticing that the towns and villages through 
which he had passed," between Ocana and Mudela, 
were in general " neater and better built than those 
on the road from Lisbon to Madrid ;" and he praises 
the bread and wine he met with in the posadas. 
Thus do travellers differ. One fact, indeed, men- 
tioned by Laborde, is a decisive refutation of his 
statement respecting their extreme misery. " La 
Mancha," he says, " is less populous than formerly, 
as is evident from the ruins of which the towns and 
villages are full. The depopulation, however, has 
been infinitely less than in New Castile ; for, in La 
Mancha, you find only eleven places formerly inha- 
bited which are now abandoned, whereas in the former 
province there are no fewer than 194. The real popu- 
lation, according to the survey of 1787-8, amounted to 
206,160 persons." Thus, in point of fact, La Mancha 
appears to have been less subjected to the causes of depo- 
pulation, and may therefore be presumed to have suffered 
less misery, than many other parts of Spain. The 
province contains 111 parishes, two cities, (Ciudad 
Real, the capital of Upper Mancha, and Ocana, the chief 
town of Lower Mancha,) 121 towns, 46 villages, and 
78 convents. It is 43 leagues long and 33 broad, 
lying between New Castile on the north, Valencia 
and Murcia on the east, Cordova and Jaen on the 
south, and Estremadura on the west. 

La Mancha is partly surrounded with mountains, 

64 SPAIX. 

belonging to the chain anciently known as the Monies 
Orospedani. The most considerable of these moun- 
tains is the Sierra d'Alcaraz, running from north 
to south towards the eastern part of Jaen. Then, 
turning westward, they form the grand lateral range 
of the Sierra Morena, or Brown Mountains (the 
Mantes Mariani of the Romans), which extend as far 
as Estremadura, dividing La Mancha from Andalusia. 
These mountains begin a few miles from Mudela in 
coming from the north, and nothing can exceed the 
bleakness and barrenness of their appearance ; either 
covered entirely with brown heath, or presenting at 
intervals masses of rock and the shattered sides of 
mountains, disclosing their inmost strata.* " But it 
is not till we have ascended considerably," says Mr. 
Semple, " and into the heart of these mountains, that 
we see all their grandeur. This is principally be* 
tween the Venta de Cardenas, four leagues from 
Mudela, and the small village of Santa Elena, two 
leagues further. Here, travelling along excellent 
roads, we beheld beneath us, on the left, a deep valley 
strewed with immense masses of stone, while, on the 
opposite side, the rocks project with peculiar grandeur, 
rising almost perpendicularly from their bases to the 
height of 700 or 800 feet. Their dark grey surface is 
contrasted with the tall trees which clothe their base. 
A small stream runs in the bottom of the valley, and, 
in summer, hardly creeps among the broken rocks. 
It was now (October 25) a resistless torrent, tumbling 
down huge stones, and dashing them against each 
other with violence and a sharp noise. One circum- 
stance was wanting to complete the sublimity of the 

* " In the higher regions of the Sierra, we find the granite: 
but, as we descend, the schist again appears, with limestone and 
gypsum." TOWNSEND, vol. ii. p. 290. 

SFA1N. 65 

scene ; but it was wanting only for a short time. 
Dark clouds collected rapidly on the summits of the 
mountains, the lightning began to gleam, the bursting 
thunders seemed to roll down the valleys, and the rain 
fell in torrents. Such was the howling of the wind 
and rain, that the noise of the torrent in the bottom 
of the valley was more faintly heard, and sounded as 
if removed to a greater distance. O for the pencil 
of a Salvator Rosa to sketch the pass of the Sierra 
Morena ! What must it have been before these excel- 
lent roads were formed, and when numerous bands of 
robbers infested the mountains !* The small village 
of Santa Elena stands on the summit of the pass, and 
where, indeed, it may be said to end. From this 
height, there is an extensive view in every direction ; 
and the traveller retraces with pleasure his first 
entrance into these mountains soon after leaving 
Mudela, until a constant ascent of nearly six leagues 
has brought him on a level with their summits. The 

* Between fifty and sixty years ago, this district was the terror of 
travellers. ' After having passed the town of El Viso, they 
ascended the Sierra Morena at the risk of their lives, over one of 
its most rugged and uneven precipices, called Puerto del Rey. Le 
Maur, a Frenchman, and long attached to the corps of engineers 
in Spain, was chosen by Count Florida Blanca, in 1779, to endea- 
vour to render practicable a road more frequented than any in the 
kingdom. In spite of the difficulties presented by the ground, Le 
Maur constructed one of the finest high roads in Europe. This he 
accomplished by means of bridges and masonry, with which he 
faced the declivities on the one hand, while, on the other, he 
erected walls breast-high ; feeble ramparts, it is true, but which 
enable the traveller to roll along the brink of precipices without 
danger and without apprehension. Such is the nature of the road 
until we arrive at Despenaperros, a spot where the rocks approach 
so close as to form a kind of arch over the heads of the passengers. 
At the bottom of the valley runs a stream, the waters of which 
were intended to feed a canal projected by Le Maur. A little fur- 
ther on, we find the stage of Las Gtrrederas, a cluster of cottages in 
the midst of the mountains." BOUKOOINO, vol. Hi. p. 76. 

66 SPAIN. 

whole of this road is excellent, especially where it 
leads in a zigzag up the sides of the steepest hills. 
From Santa Elena we constantly descend towards the 
S. or S. S.W. by a road equally excellent, until we 
reach La Carolina, a distance of two leagues, during 
which small white houses with orchards continually 
present themselves, having an effect doubly pleasing 
after passing through such barren scenery."* 

But we are now to travel northward, and having 
crossed the Brown Mountain, shall suppose ourselves 
to have passed through Almuradiel, the last village 
in the Sierra, and to have reached Santa Cruz de 
Mudela, the first town in La Mancha, commanding 
the view of a fertile plain, -j- A stage of two leagues 
from this place brings us to Val de Penas, a town con- 
taining a fine square and upwards of 2,000 inhabit- 
ants, J and famous for the wine produced in the 
neighbourhood, reckoned some of the best in Spain. 
When properly kept, Mr. Semple says, it has a flavour 
between Burgundy and claret. The town lies in a 
valley " teeming with oil, wine, and wheat," and even 
the low sloping hills in the neighbourhood are green 

* Soon after the commencement of the peninsular war, La Ca- 
rolina was the seat of the central assembly formed by the juntas of 
Ciudad Real and the four kingdoms of Andalusia, who met to con- 
sult upon speedy measures for fortifying the gorge of Despenaper- 
ros; " this pass of the Sierra Morena being considered," says Dr. 
Sou they, " as the Thermopylae where the progress of this new 
barbarian might be withstood." History of the Pen. War, vol. i. p. 
741. Dupont, however, had crossed the Sierra without opposition 
the June preceding ; and the armies who had scaled the Pyrenees 
were not to be barricadoed out of Andalusia by the Sierra Morena. 

t Near this village, Laborde says, there is a rich and productive 
mine of antimony. The old road led through El Viso, leaving 
Mudela on the left. 

t So says Mr. Quin, in 1823. Mr. Townsend, in 1786, says 7,651 

SPAIX. 67 

with cultivation. Four leagues further, over a level 
country, is Manzanares, a small but neat town on 
the banks of the Gijuela, a small stream which soon 
falls into the Guadiana : the land produces corn, 
saffron, and wine. When Mr. /Townsend passed 
through this place in 1786, it contained, in 1800 fa- 
milies, 6,768 souls ; " which proportion," he remarks, 
" is a sufficient index of their poverty : the houses are 
built with mud, and the poor are almost naked." 
Mr. Semple says, that the town carries on a consi- 
derable trade, and has an appearance of business ; and 
Mr. Quin describes it as handsome, but estimates the 
population as low as 1600. The sanguinary conflicts 
of which La Mancha has been the theatre since Mr. 
Townsend travelled, sufficiently account for all such 
discrepancies. Villarte, three leagues further, on the 
banks of the Gijuela, was formerly a flourishing place, 
where the wool of the province was manufactured into 
coarse stuffs ; but it was reduced to a heap of ruins 
by the French, on account of the resistance they met 
with from its inhabitants. They unroofed the houses, 
and shattered their walls with grape-shot ; and since 
then, few of the houses have been rebuilt. The rem- 
nant of the town presented, in 1823, a most miserable 
aspect. The road continues over the same level coun- 
try, well cultivated with wheat and olives, to Puerto 
Lapiche, (or La Pice), situated between two hills. 
The soil is a loose sand of quartz, which, wherever it 
is watered by norias, produces excellent corn : the 
rock is granite. Three leagues further is Madridejos, 
a neat little town, where Mr. Quin was struck with 
discovering " humble imitations" of the more elegant 
patios which occupy the centre of the houses in the 
south. The population is loosely stated by Laborde 
at 8,000, and he mentions a woollen manufactory. 

68 SPAIN. 

For the next four leagues, to Tembleque, the country 
is flat but fertile, the corn growing to the very edge of 
the road. This town contained, in 1786, about 2,000 
families and a monastery of Cordeliers. There was 
also a saltpetre-manufactory here. Near this town 
is a small lake, formed by the rains which descend in 
winter from the neighbouring hills, and which of 
course diminishes in size as the summer advances. Its 
banks are the resort of large flocks of wild fowl. Two 
leagues further over a naked plain, lead to La Guardia, 
a miserable town on the summit of a range of broken 
ground, to which Laborde assigns 4,000 inhabitants. 
It was formerly a place of strength, and was long 
defended by the Moors. At a distance, it presents the 
singular appearance of natural fortifications with re- 
gular outworks. To the north of this low range is a 
deep and fertile valley, in which are several high de- 
tached mounts with sharp summits. At the end of 
three leagues more, the traveller reaches Ocana, the 
chief town in the Lower Mancha, situated on the 
summit of a steep hill. It is an ancient place, but 
contains nothing remarkable. There are four parish- 
churches, six monasteries, and five nunneries. In 
the days of its prosperity under the Grand Masters of 
the Order of St. Jago, it carried on a considerable 
trade in gloves. At a distance, it has still an imposing 
appearance, which is speedily dispelled on a nearer 
view. The population, in 1786, was nearly 5,000 
souls.* Immediately below Ocana, the traveller enters 
New Castile. 

* Mr. Quin says, about 1,500 inhabitants ; a palpable mistake, 
since he afterwards represents Tembleque as half the size of 
Ocana, and Madridejos as half the size of Tembleque. Ocaua was 
the scene of a disastrous and obstinately contested battle in No- 
vember 1809, between the Spaniards under Arekaga, and the 


The Mesa (plain) of Ocana, is the most fertile part 
of La Mancha, and the most corn is grown here ; but, 
like the greater part of this province, it is entirely bare 
of timber. Scarcely a single tree is to be seen in some 
places for many leagues round. Near Ciudad Real, 
however, the country is very pleasant, covered, 
Laborde says, with vines, olives, and a variety of other 
trees, and the rich plain in which it stands, is said to 
be productive in fruit. This city, the residence of the 
intendant of La Mancha, is regularly laid out, with 
wide, well-paved streets, and its woollen manufactories 
and tanneries once rendered it a flourishing place. 
Its population is now reduced, Laborde says, to be- 
tween 8 and 9,000 persons. The distance from Ocana 
to Ciudad Real, is nineteen leagues ; through Tem- 
bleque, Consuegra, and Fernan Cavallero, and by the 
Ojos de la Guadiana. Another road, " straight and 
level," leads from Ocana to Murcia and Valencia, 
through Villatobas, Corral de Almaguer, Quintenar 
de la Orden, La Mota del Cuervo, Minaya, and Roda. 
Most of these places are in a decayed state. Woods of 
holm-oaks occur in some parts, but the land is for the 
most part bare of timber. On an eminence near La 
Mota del Cuervo, fourteen wind-mills call to mind the 
first exploit of the hero of Cervantes. But in fact, 
these are to be seen, Mr. Townsend says, in the vi- 
cinity of every village, as may be expected in a corn 
country, where there are no streams to turn a water- 

" There is not perhaps in all Europe," remarks M. 
Bourgoing, u a country more uniform than the twenty- 
French under Mortier and Victor, which terminated in the total 
defeat of the former. 

* They are all very small and low, and at a distance have an 
appearance not very unlike gigantic figures. 


70 SPAIN. 

two tedious leagues between Tembleque and Almo- 
radiel, and nothing can be more monotonous than the 
view of such a dreary horizon. For two, sometimes 
three hours, not a single human dwelling appears to 
relieve the eye. The view extends without interrup- 
tion over immense plains, the vegetation of which has 
a gloomy appearance, more from the heat of the sun 
than from the nature of the soil. Some thinly scattered 
olive-plantations occasionally relieve the tedious uni- 
formity. This sameness, however, does not prevail 
throughout the whole province. To the westward of 
Tembleque and Madridejos, are some extensive vil- 
lages of a more lively appearance than these bare 
plains. Charles III. usually visited Yevenes, a village 
twelve leagues from Aranjuez, once in two years, to 
enjoy the amusements of the chase. It commands a 
beautiful and spacious valley covered with olive-plan- 
tations, on the opposite side of which the old castle of 
Consuegra rises from the top of a chain of hills." In 
fact, it is evident that La Mancha, though for the 
most part flat, bare, and uninviting, and in some parts 
exposed to drought from the want of rivers, is capable 
of becoming a fertile, flourishing, and populous pro- 
vince. It can hardly be supposed that the absence of 
timber is natural to a soil producing rich wine, wheat, 
barley, oats, and some of the finest olives. Laborde 
says, that a dwarf-chesnut is indigenous. The pine 
and the holm-oak are also found here ; and near the 
towns are alamedas and orchards. It is probable, that 
the plains have been laid bare partly by the flames of 
Avar, partly by design. Under a good government, 
and with a better system of husbandry, by means of 
Moorish norias, and with English cottages and English 
hedge-rows, these fine plains might be made to smile 
with rural beauty and abundance. 

SPAIN. 71 

Having now entered New Castile, at two leagues 
from Ocana we arrive at the royal hunting-seat 
(sitio) of Aranjuez ; the name of which, the Spanish 
antiquaries will have it, is derived from Ara Jovis, 
and we are to gather from this, that a temple dedi- 
cated to Jupiter once stood here. The valley of Aran- 
juez is one of the most delightful spots in the country : 
such, at least, is the impression it makes on a traveller 
coming from the parched and naked plains of La 
Mancha or New Castile. The Xarama flows along 
the hills which form the northern side, while the 
Tagus, entering it at the east end, winds along it for 
nearly two leagues, and then receives the tribute of 
the former stream. The road through the valley for 
the distance of nearly a league, is bordered with 
double rows of lofty elms, the resort, in spring, of 
nightingales who sing all the day long. The most 
luxuriant vegetation is every where exhibited, and the 
meadows preserve a perennial verdure. The palace, 
which is much in the style of an old French chateau, 
is finely situated. The Tagus, which runs at right 
angles with the eastern facade, after flowing along the 
parterre, forms an artificial cascade almost under the 
windows. A small branch which escapes from the 
cascade, approaches so near the walls, as to admit 
of royal angling from the terrace : then, uniting with 
the principal stream, it forms a delightful island, 
which is laid out in gardens. In one part of the 
grounds, a small dock-yard has been formed, where 
ship-building in miniature was carried on for the 
amusement of the royal owner. Further on is 
a kind of harbour, defended by a battery, where 
some gondolas and small frigates elegantly deco- 
rated lay at anchor, ready to afford their majesties 

72 SPAIN. 

the pleasure of an aquatic excursion or of a naval 

" Great princes have great playthings." 

In another part, a small lake has been formed, out of 
which rises a kiosk, and near it is moored a Chinese 
bark ; but the effect is incongruous and petty. Na- 
ture, however, has every where done so much for this 
spot, and the rich variety of exotic trees and plants 
have succeeded so well, that the gardens altogether, 
though on a level surface, form, at the proper season, 
one of the most charming promenades in Europe. The 
vegetable treasures of both hemispheres contribute 
their colours and perfumes to the royal bowers. 

" The situation of this palace," says Swinburne, 
44 renders it one of the most agreeable residences I 
know, belonging to a sovereign prince. It stands in 
a very large plain, surrounded with bare, ugly hills,* 
but which are well hidden by the noble rows of trees 
that extend across the flat in every direction. The 
compartments between the avenues are railed off, and 
laid down in pasture and meadow for the supply of 
the large dairy of cows.-f- That part of the vale which 
stretches out towards the east, is left in a ruder state, 
and, except some few fields of corn, is mostly forest 
land, through which the Tagus winds in a deep, shady 
bed. The walks and rides along the banks, through 
the venerable groves, and under the majestic elms 
that overhang the roads, are luxuries unknown to the 
rest of Spain. The beauties of the scenery are en- 

* They have since been planted. 

t These cows were brought from Holland by order of Charles III. 
Buffaloes and camels were also brought here, and made to serve as 
beasts of burden'; and at the same period, two zebras, two guanacos 
(Peruvian sheep), and an elephant might be seen sporting or feed- 
ing in a meadow contiguous to the road. 

SPAIN. 73 

hanced by the flocks of many-coloured birds that 
flutter and sing on the boughs, by the herds of deer, 
(amounting, in 1TJ6, to not less than 7,000 head,) 
and by the droves of buffaloes, cows, sheep, and brood- 
mares, that wander uncontrolled through all these 
woods. Wild boars are frequently seen in the even- 
ings in the very streets of the town. 

" The finest avenue, called the Calle de la Reyna, is 
three miles long, quite straight from the palace gate, 
crossing the Tagus twice before it loses itself in the 
thickets, where some noble, spreading elms and weep- 
ing poplars hang beautifully over the deep still pool. 
Near this road is a flower-garden for spring, laid out 
with great taste by Mr. Wall, during his ministry. 
The gay variety of flowers at this time of the year 
(May the 3d), is particularly pleasing to the eye ; but 
its beauty soon fades on the approach of summer. As 
the weather grows hot, the company retire to the 
garden in an island on the Tagus, on the north side of 
the palace. This is a heavenly place, cut into various 
walks and circular lawns, which in their primitive 
state may have been very stiff and formal, but in the 
course of a century, nature has obliterated the regular 
forms of art. The trees have swelled out beyond the 
line traced for them, and destroyed the enfilade, by 
advancing into the walks or retiring from them. 
The sweet flowering shrubs, instead of being clipped 
and kept down, have been allowed to shoot up into 
trees, and hang over the statues and fountains, to 
which they were originally meant to serve as humble 
fences. The jets d'eau dash up among the trees, and 
add fresh verdure to the leaves. The terraces and 
balustrades built along the river, are now overgrown 
with roses and other luxuriant bushes, hanging down 
into the stream, which is darkened by the large trees 
r 2 

74 SPAIN. 

growing on the opposite banks. Many of the statues, 
groupes, and fountains are handsome, some masterly, 
the works of Algardi. All are placed in charming 
points of view, either in open circular spots, at a dis- 
tance from the trees, or else in gloomy arbours and 
retired angles of the wood."* 

The embellishments of Aranjuez are modern. The 
first monarch who established his residence here, was 
Charles the Fifth, who began the building of the 
palace inhabited by his successors. Ferdinand VI. 
and Charles III. added each a new wing. Under 
Ferdinand VI., Aranjuez had scarcely any thing to 
shew but the palace. Some ruinous houses, scattered 
over an uneven piece of ground, at some distance from 
the royal habitation, served for the dwellings of the at- 
tendants upon the court and the ambassadors. -f- These 
have given way to houses uniformly built with elegant 
simplicity. The principal streets are shaded with two 

* Swinburne, vol. ii. pp. 128 132. 

t The Marquis de Grimaldi, sometime prime-minister, was the 
author of the plan upon which the new village was built. He had 
filled a diplomatic situation at the Hague, where, says Bourgoing, 
he conceived the idea of founding a Dutch town in the centre of 
Castile. " The village formerly consisted," says Swinburne, " of 
the palace, its offices, and a few miserable huts, where the ambas- 
sadors and the attendants of the court endeavoured to lodge them- 
selves as well as they could, but always very uncomfortably: many 
of the habitations were vaults half under ground. What deter- 
mined the king to build a new town, and to embellish the envi- 
rons, was an accident that happened at the nuncio's. A coach 
broke through the ceiling of his dining-room, and fell in upon the 
table. The court then began to apply very considerable sums to 
the purpose of erecting proper dwellings for the great number of 
persons who flock to the place where the sovereign resides. Nearly 
ten thousand are supposed to live here during two or three months 
in spring. The king keeps one hundred and fifteen sets of mules, 
which require a legion of men to take care of them. Half a million 
sterling has been laid out at Aranjuez since the year 1763; and it 
must be acknowledged, that wonders have been performed. Several 

SPAIX. 75 

rows of trees, at the foot of which runs a clear stream 
of water. All of them are perfectly straight and very 
wide ; too broad, Bourgoing says, in proportion to the 
lowness of the houses and the heat of the climate. 
The village is separated from the palace by an exten- 
sive but irregular square, decorated with a fountain. 
A piazza on each side, almost entirely covered, runs 
along its whole length, beginning at the end of the 
principal streets, and forming a part of the enclosure 
of this square, till it unites with the adjoining build, 
ings of the palace. The royal chapel is new, and built 
in good style. There are besides it three churches in 
the Sitio: the most modern belongs to a Franciscan 
monastery. Opposite the church is a royal hospital. 
The palace contained, in 1800, upwards of 400 pic- 
tures, among which were several by Guido, Guercino, 
and Poussin, it having been enriched with the spoils 
of St. Ildefonso. Since then, the French plunderers 
have been here. Aranjuez has been repeatedly lost 
and won, sharing the fate of Madrid ; and in 1823, 
the gardens were falling to decay. The late king, 
who preferred Aranjuez to all his other palaces, used 
to visit it early in January, and remain there till the 
end of June. It then becomes a very undesirable and 
indeed unhealthy residence. " As the dog-days ap- 
proach," says Bourgoing, " when the hot air stag- 
nated in the valley is loaded with the exhalations of 
a muddy and sluggish river, and with the nitrous 

fine streets drawn in straight lines with broad pavements, a double 
row of trees before tlie houses, and a very noble road between 
them, commodious hotels for the ministers and ambassadors, great 
squares, markets, churches, a theatre, and an amphitheatre for 
bull-feasts, have been raised from the ground. Neatness and con- 
venience have been more studied and sought for than show in the 
architecture ; but altogether, the place has something magnificent 
in the coup tToeO." SWIKBURNE, vol. ii. p. 133. 

76 SPAIN. 

vapours taken up by the sun from the hills between 
which the Tagus flows, then is this vale of Tempe 
pregnant with disease and death. Every person then 
removes from Aranjuez, seeking a more wholesome 
atmosphere upon the neighbouring heights, particu- 
larly in the little town of Ocana; and Aranjuez, 
which, during May and June, was the rendezvous of 
all who are eager for pleasure or for health, contain- 
ing a population of 10,000 souls, now becomes a 
desert, where those alone remain who are prevented 
leaving it either by their avocations or their poverty." 
A wooden bridge over the Tagus leads from Aran- 
juez along the beautiful alameda, to a handsome bridge 
over the Xarama, erected in 1761. Here the traveller 
with reluctance ascends by a gentle slope from this 
beautiful vale. At the end of two leagues he reaches 
Val de Moros (Valley of the Moors), a small town 
formerly celebrated for its trade, as well as for hav- 
ing been for some time the residence of the Moorish 
kings, its founders. The vicinity is rich in oil, wheat, 
and wine. Several small villages are seen in the 
course of the next league, leading to the small town 
of Pinto, situated in an agreeable plain, which is be- 
lieved to be the most central part of Spain. At length, 
at the end of three leagues further over an open plain, 
generally bare, but cultivated, the traveller crosses the 
shallow stream of the Manzanares by the magnificent 
bridge of Toledo, and soon arrives at the gates of 


MADRID, like St. Petersburgh, owes its origin as a 
capital to political considerations and the caprice of 
the sovereign. Its site being nearly in the centre of 
Spain, it has been considered as the best adapted for 
the foundation of a new metropolis, although it pos- 

SPAIN. 77 

sesses no other local advantages.* The air, indeed, 
is reckoned pure, but the climate is variable and far 
from genial ; the cold of winter being extremely severe, 
and the summer heat overwhelming. By going only 
thirty or forty miles southward, many advantageous 
and beautiful situations might have been chosen, either 
on the banks of the Tagus, or on the hills of Toledo. 
But it would seem that the royal founder was deter- 
mined to fix his capital on a site which no Roman, 
Gothic, or Moorish sovereign had thought worthy of 
preoccupying. Till Philip II. removed his court to 
this place, Madrid was only an obscure town, in a 
naked and sterile district, destitute alike of trees and 
verdure : it belonged to the archbishops of Toledo. 
As if in contempt of the noble river which washes the 
ancient capital, Madrid is built on the banks of the 
Manzanares, one of its tributaries, which in summer 
is a mere rivulet creeping through a wide bed of sand. 
Overlooking the defects of the situation, Madrid must 
be admitted to be one of the finest, though at the 
same time one of the dullest cities in Europe. The 
houses are lofty and built of stone ; the streets are 
well paved and clean ; and the public edifices, not 
being blacked with smoke, look as if they were newly 
erected. Next to the palaces and churches, the greatest 
ornaments of the city are its gates, resembling so 
many triumphal arches, and the Prado. The erection 
of these gates was the glory of Charles III., who has 

* The choice of this position for the capital " serves to display," 
remarks Mr. Semple, perhaps somewhat too sarcastically, " the 
Spanish idea of greatness of mind, as consisting in choosing advan- 
tageous mathematical points, without regard to other circum- 
stances, and then forcing nature to bend to their views." Other 
travellers have made a similar remark on the national peculiarity 
observable in their public works, an unbending spirit, not always 
under the guidance of sagacity See vol. i. p. 114. 

78 SPAIN'- 

taken due care to record his name upon them in long 
inscriptions ; but it has been remarked, that he forgot 
to add walls to them. " Beautiful gates," says Mr. 
Semple, " are placed here and there in a miserable 
wall which a few three-pounders would batter down 
in an hour :* so strangely are magnificence and poverty 
here blended together." The gate of Alcala (leading 
towards Saragossa) is particularly magnificent. " The 
order of the structure is Ionic ; and it derives no small 
part of its noble effect from the situation in which it is 
placed. When the French attacked Madrid in 1808, 
their artillery exercised much ingenuity in endeavour- 
ing to deface the ornaments and columns of this gate. 
They fired through it repeatedly, and the marks of 
balls are still to be seen on the outside part of the 
structure, where they succeeded in breaking some of 
the capitals, and mutilating the statuary. 

" The stranger," continues Mr. Quin, " who catches 
a first view of Madrid upon entering by the gate of 
Alcala, is apt to form high expectations of its extent 
and magnificence. He sees before him the long, 
wide street of Alcala, formed on both sides by a line 
of princely houses, and having a slight but graceful 
bend, which gives it rather the appearance of a vista 
in painting, than of reality. Upon advancing a 
little, he finds himself in full view of the prado^ or 
public walk, which extends to a considerable distance 
on his right, and, on his left hand, reaches to a boun- 
dary which his eye cannot perceive. This latter part 
of the prado it is which is most frequented. The 
central walk, which is very wide, is called the salon. 

* The wall sufficiently answers its design, if Dalrymple be cor- 
rect: "it is enclosed with a view to prevent the introduction of 
the various articles of subsistence, &c., without paying the 

Sl'AIN. 79 

At each side of the salon, there are several narrow 
walks, which, heing thickly shaded hy lofty elm-trees, 
give the prado the appearance of a noble avenue to 
some royal palace. The space between the extremity 
of the salon and the gate of Atocha (leading to Aran- 
juez), which is very nearly a mile, is also abundantly 
planted with elms laid out in walks, and, as well as 
the salon, and the other parts of the prado, decorated 
with fountains, which are embellished in an excellent 
style of workmanship. 

" Adjoining the prado are public gardens, called 
Las Delicias. ... These are chiefly frequented in sum- 
mer, because their walks are more umbrageous than 
those of the prado, and they are cooled by a large 
basin of limpid water, round which are fountains that 
ever yield a pure and salubrious spring, the greatest 
luxury of a warm climate. Near these are the bota- 
nical gardens, also open to the public. Immediately 
beyond the basin of Las Delicias are to be seen some 
remains of the royal palace of El Retiro, once so 
famous for the extent and beauty of its gardens, its 
woodland shades, its fish-ponds, fountains, theatre, 
and other various curiosities. It was turned into a 
fortress by the French, who levelled all the trees 
around it, and made a desert of this once beautiful 
situation. Upon Ferdinand's return, he ordered this 
palace to be repaired ; but little progress had been made 
when the Revolution broke out, which prevented him 
from pursuing his wishes. No injury, however, was 
done to good taste by the occurrence of this impedi- 
ment, as the style in which the new buildings were 
commenced is Chinese. One or two of them are 
finished, and, so far as they go, resemble parts of the 
palace at Brighton. By some good fortune, the 
equestrian statue of Philip IV. was preserved from 

80 SPAIN- 

the rage of the modern Vandals. It still remains in 
the grounds of El Retiro, and deserves never to 

" On the fine Sunday afternoons of winter, between 
two and five o'clock, the prado is generally fully at- 
tended. The ladies are all, with perhaps no more than 
a dozen exceptions, dressed in black silk gowns and 
shawls of various colours, but mostly violet. They 
appear in their hair, having no other covering on the 
head than the very slight one of a black or white lace 
veil, which is gracefully attached to the hair-knot 
on the top, so as to shew a gold or tortoise-shell 
comb, and falls freely over the shoulders : some- 
times it is let down over the face; but generally 
it is folded back over the forehead, and drawn toge- 
ther under the chin by the hand, thus advantageously 
shading the- countenance. This dress is so becoming, 
that, in contemplating it, one scarcely feels the want 
of variety. Every woman looks well in it ; and 
when the figure and countenance are really handsome, 
they shine with double lustre in this national cos- 
tume. The handsomest women in Madrid are mostly 
from the provinces. The genuine Madrilenians are 
less remarkable for their beauty than, perhaps, those 
of any other province. The men appear almost uni- 
versally enveloped in large cloaks, which give them 
a gravity of aspect perfectly in keeping with the 
serious, pensive turn of their minds. The hats of the 
gentlemen are like those worn in England. When 
speaking to each other, their gesture is more varied 

* This statue was cast at Florence. The posture of the horse 
curvetting, supported by his hind feet and tail, is very ingenious ; 
and it appears difficult to conceive, Swinburne remarks, how the 
artist could contrive to preserve the equilibrium of such a maw 
entirely thrown out of its perpendicular. 

SPAIN. 81 

and even more passionate than that of the French. 
They speak with great distinctness of articulation, 
and at the same time with amazing fluency. " The 
mornings and evenings of the winters in Madrid, are 
usually very cold. In England, a cold winter is 
considered as salubrious ; here it is the contrary ; for 
Madrid is seated so high ahove the level of the sea, 
that its atmosphere is very thin ; * and a cold north- 
ern wind, which seems scarcely strong enough to 
extinguish a lamp, pierces to the heart, and not unfre- 
quently freezes the very sources of life. Pulmonary 
complaints, brought on by this excessive cold, are 
common, and so rapid in their progress, that the 
sufferer is carried to his grave in three or four days. 
Sometimes, these imperceptible blasts act on the limbs 
exposed to them like a palsy ; and they are the more 
dangerous as they chiefly haunt the atmosphere imme- 
diately after a brilliant and warm sunshine has left it. 
Hence, at this season, the Spaniards are seen muffled 
up to the eyes in their cloaks. By thus covering 
the lower part of the countenance, they breathe a 
warm air, a precaution almost indispensable to their 

" The street of Alcala, superb in every other 
respect, is inconvenient for pedestrians on account of 
the narrowness of the footway and the roughness of 
the pavement. In snowy or rainy weather, this 
inconvenience is much increased, as the footway is 
placed exactly under the pipes which convey the water 
from the roofs of the houses. These pipes project a 
little from the parapets, and the collected rain falls 
from their heights on the footway below ; the simple 

Madrid is situated ashigh'above the level of the sea as Inspruck, 
in one of the highest defiles of the Tyrol See vol. i. p. 10, and 
vol. ii. p. 59. 


82 SPAIN. 

addition of a perpendicular conduit either not having 
I>een thought of, or having been deemed too expen- 
sive. A want of cleanliness is also as observable in 
the streets of Madrid as in those of Paris. The ante- 
hall of the principal houses is generally left exposed to 
every sort of passenger. Sometimes a poor old woman 
establishes in it her little stall of bread and fruit and 
asses' milk ; but even this is no safeguard against its 
violation.* Beyond the front door, which is generally 
open, there is an interior one, which is as generally 
shut. The visiter pulls a bell-rope, which hangs near 
the door, on which a servant appears at a small square, 
grated aperture in the door, and demands his name or 
business. In the higher order of houses, a porter attends 
in the ante-hall, from which the stairs directly ascend. 
The higher classes live up stairs, the ground-floor 
apartments being allotted to the use of the servants, 
or stored with lumber. 

" After leaving the street of Alcala, the only mag- 
nificent one in Madrid, you enter a kind of square, 
called Puerto, del Sol (Gate of the Sun). It was for- 
merly one of the gates of entrance to the capital, but 
since the erection of the street of Alcala, and other 
additions on that side, it is now almost in the centre 
of Madrid, and is used as the exchange. In the morn- 
ings and evenings, this place is crowded with persons, 
who attend, however, less for commercial purposes, 
than to talk about the news, and lounge away an 
hour or two. The street of La Montera, opening 

* The nuisance alluded to is inside the porches of the houses, 
for the streets of Madrid are extremely clean. Few towns, Laborde 
says, pay such attention to this object : and Swinburne, after de- 
scribing the three principal streets terminating in the prado as 
excellently paved and clean even to a*nicety, adds, " so, indeed, 
are most of the streets of Madrid." 

SPAIN. 83 

from the Puerto, del Sol, is also much frequented by 
loungers. There are in it several gay and handsome 
shops, but they are not remarkable for richness. The 
trade of Madrid is limited to its own population 
(about 142,000), and is therefore inconsiderable for the 
metropolis of such a country as Spain. A little busi- 
ness is done in the morning : less in the evening. 
From one to half-past three in the afternoon, the 
shops are all shut, as then the proprietors and their 
families are at their dinner, or taking their siesta." * 

The Plaza Mayor -J- is nearer the centre of the city. 
It forms a long, rectangular area, 370 feet in length 
and 287 in breadth. The sides are ornamented with 
piazzas, supported by pillars of freestone. The houses 
are all five stories high ; and the rows of windows 
being all in the same line, and provided with uniform 
iron balconies, there is something striking in the coup 
d'oeil. In summer, all the windows are shaded with 
curtains thrown across the balconies. 

Madrid stands on several low hills, in the midst of 
an immense plain, bounded, on the side of Old Cas- 
tile, by the mountains of Guadarama ; on every other 
side, it seems to have no other boundary than the 
horizon. The city stands in lat. 40 25' 1" N., long. 
3 33' 8" W. It is reckoned to be a hundred leagues 
from the frontiers of France on the side of Bayonne, 
one hundred from the frontier of Portugal, and one 
hundred from the Straits of Gibraltar ; 650 miles 

* Quin's Visit to Spain, pp. 112118. 

t This plaza by no means warrants, according to Bourgoing, 
the enthusiastic commendation of the Spaniards. When illumi- 
nated, however, it exhibits a grand appearance. Formerly, the 
u<o dafe were celebrated in this place, with all their tremendous 
apparatus. It was also the theatre of the bull-fights, and is used 
;is a market-place. 

84 SPAIN. 

S.S.W. of Paris, and 850 W. by S. of Rome. The 
most ancient part is nearest the river; and here it 
presents only narrow streets, crooked lanes, and blind 
alleys, like those in the old city) of Paris. To the 
north and east of this, receding from the 'river, the 
streets are wider, and affect some degree of symmetry. 
This portion of the city, including the Plaza Mayor, 
terminates at the Puerta del Sol. At length, when 
Philip II. removed his court to this city, the nobility 
erected palaces beyond the former limits ; and the 
Puerta del Sol is now the centre of the whole. In 
1786, Madrid contained, according to Mr. Townsend, 
in its fifteen parishes, 7,398 houses, 32,745 families, 
147,543 individuals, 66 convents, 16 colleges, 18 hos- 
pitals, five prisons, and 15 gates built of granite. 
Laborde states the population, in 1788, at 156,270 
souls, including 8,618 nobles, 576 priests, 1,892 monks, 
820 nuns, 595 advocates, 257 clerks, 727 students, 
17,273 domestics. But, including the] garrison, con- 
sisting of from 8 to 10,000 foreigners, and occasional 
residents, it might amount, he supposes, to 200,000 
persons. The births, in 1788, amounted to 4,897 ; the 
deaths, to 5,915. In 1797, the former were reckoned 
at 4,911, the latter at 4,441. Since then, the popu- 
lation has been continually fluctuating. Mr. Semple 
estimates it, in 1805, at 250,000 souls. Mr. Quin, 
without giving his authority, in 1803, at about 142,000. 
Mr. Swinburne thus describes its appearance in 1776. 
" If you except the royal palaces, there are few 
buildings in Madrid worthy of attention ; nor do I 
believe there is in Europe a capital that has so little 
to shew as this. Having never been the see of a 
bishop, it has, of course, no cathedral, nor, indeed, 
any church that distinguishes itself much from the 
common run of parishes and convents. Allowing some 

SPAIN. 85 

exceptions, I think I may safely pronounce the out- 
ward architecture of them all to be barbarous, and 
their manner of ornamenting the inside, as bad as that 
of the worst ages. Most of them were erected or re- 
touched during the term of years that elapsed between 
the middle of the seventeenth century and the year 
1759, a period in the history of Spain when all arts 
and sciences were fallen to the lowest ebb. The de- 
generacy of manners, the want of public spirit, the 
vices in the political system under the three last 
princes of the Austrian line, the wars, too, that shook 
the very foundations of their throne for the first ten 
years of this century, kept all the polite arts grovel- 
ling in the dust ; and when they ventured to raise 
their heads, and court the favour of the sovereign, 
there seems to have been a total want of able profes- 
sors to second their efforts, and assist them in return- 
ing to the paths of good sense and true taste. No 
mad architect ever dreamed of a distortion of members 
so capricious, of a twist of pillars, cornices, or pedi- 
ments so wild and fantastic, but what a real sample 
of it may be produced in some or other of the churches 
of Madrid. They are all small, and poor in marbles 
as well as in pictures. Their altars are piles of wooden 
ornaments heaped up to the ceiling, and stuck full of 
wax lights, which more than once have set fire to the 
whole church. The tombs of Ferdinand VI. and of 
his queen, Barbara, in the church of the Visitation, 
are almost the only sepulchral monuments of any 

" The first king that made any long abode iu 
Madrid, was Henry IV.* Before his reign, it was 

* Laborde states, that Alfonso VI. is said to have laid the founda- 
tions of the royal palace; that it was sacked by the Moors in 1109; 
overthrown by an earthquake in the reign of Pedro the Cruel ; 

86 SPAIN. 

but an insignificant place, with a small castle for the 
convenience of the princes who came to hunt the boar 
in the environs, which were then as woody as they 
are now naked. Its situation on a hill overlooking 
many leagues of country, open on every side to a 
wholesome circulation of air, and abundance of good 
water, induced the Emperor Charles the Fifth to 
build an ample palace here, which he intended to 
make his chief residence, as he thought the climate 
best adapted to his constitution. The sovereign being 
once fixed at Madrid, the nobility soon abandoned 
their hereditary castles and houses in other cities, to 
follow the court. They were under the necessity of 
settling in the houses they found ready built ; and, 
for that reason, added to the supine indifference that 
seized the Spaniards during the last two-thirds of the 
seventeenth century, and nearly half of this, most of 
the great families still continue to inhabit vast ranges 
of ugly fabrics, not distinguishable from the common 
houses in the streets, except by their large dimensions. 
The palaces of the grandees, that contain either 
statues or pictures of value, are few in number. 

" The old palace was burnt down to the ground in 
1 734 ; and Phih'p Juvara was commissioned by Philip 
V. to give a plan for rebuilding it in the most splendid 
manner. The model he made is still in existence, 
but was rejected on account of the immensity of the 
size and the greatness of the expense, as well as of the 
want of sufficient room to place it ; the king being 

partly rebuilt by Henry of Transtamare, and completed by Henry 
IV. Charles the Fifth made it his frequent abode; and his son, 
Philip II., removed the seat of government hither in 1563. In the 
Succession war, it maintained its loyalty to Philip V., though 
twice deserted by that monarch on the approach of his rival, in 
1706 and 1709. 

SPA1X. 87 

determined, on account of the air, to have it rebuilt 
on the exact spot where the old one had stood. Juvara 
dying before he could prepare a second design, his 
disciple Sacchetti produced that which has been car- 
ried into execution. Both his and his master's plans 
have the defect of being clumsy and confused in 
the windows, pilasters, and ornaments : where they 
have aimed at simplicity, they have sunk their archi- 
tecture under a load of stone, and where they have 
studied to be rich and light, they have generally given 
in to the capricious, rather than the beautiful. It i& 
all of white stone, each of the fronts being 470 feet in 
length by 100 in height. This pile towers over all the 
country, where nothing intercepts the view for many 
miles. The entrances and ground-floor appear more 
like those of some mighty fortress, than of the peace- 
able habitation of a powerful monarch, a hundred 
leagues removed from his frontiers. The range of 
large glazed arches round the inner court, resembles 
the inside of a manufactory. This is the more unpar- 
donable, as they had at no great distance, in the 
Alcazar of Toledo, as elegant a colonnade as the 
nicest critic could desire. The beautiful circular court 
of Granada might have suggested noble ideas to the 
architect ; but at that time, perhaps, the very exist- 
ence of such a thing was a secret at Madrid.* 

* Mr. Townsend speaks of this edifice in widely different lan- 
guage : " It is impossible to view the new palace without the most 
exquisite delight. It presents four fronts, each of 470 feet in length, 
and 100 feet in height up to the cornice, enclosing a quadrangle of 
1 40 feet. These fronts are relieved by numerous pillars and pilas- 
ters, and over the cornice is a balustrade to hide the leaden roof. 
Within the balustrade, on pedestals, are placed a series of the 
kings of Spain, from Ataulfo to Ferdinand VI." Travels, vol. i. 
p. 258. These statues were subsequently removed to the immense 
vaults of the palace by order of Charles III. 


" I know of no palace in Europe fitted up with so 
much royal magnificence. The ceilings are chef- 
cTceitvres of Mengs, Corrado, and Tiepolo. The rich- 
est marbles are employed with great taste in forming 
the cornices and socles of the rooms, and the frames 
of the doors and windows. What enhances the value 
of these marbles is, the circumstance of their being 
all produced in the quarries of Spain. The great 
audience-chamber is one of the richest I know. The 
ceiling, painted by Tiepolo, represents the triumph of 
Spain. Round the cornice the artist has placed alle- 
gorical figures of its different provinces, distinguished 
by their productions, and attended by their inhabit- 
ants in the provincial habit. These form a most un- 
common picture, and a curious set of costumi. The 
walls are incrusted with beautiful marble, and all 
around are hung with large plates of looking-glass in 
rich frames, from the glass-manufactory at St. Ildefonso, 
where they cast them of a very great size. A collec- 
tion of pictures by the greatest masters of the art, 
adorns the walls of the inner apartments. 

" At the bottom of the palace-yard is an old build- 
ing, called the Armeria^ containing a curious assort- 
ment of antique arms and weapons, kept in a manner 
that would have made poor Cornelius Scrihlerus swoon 
at every step. No notable housemaid in England 
has her fire-grates half so bright as these coats of 
mail. They shew those of all the heroes that dignify 
the annals of Spain ; those of St. Ferdinand, of Fer- 
dinand the Catholic, his wife Isabella, Charles the 
Fifth, the great Captain Gonsalo, the King of Gra- 
nada, and many others. Some suits are embossed 
with great nicety. The temper of the sword-blades is 
quite wonderful ; you may lap them round your waist 
like a girdle. The art of tempering steel in Toledo 

SFAIN. 89 

was lost about seventy years ago, and the project of 
reviving and encouraging it, is one of the favourite 
schemes of Charles III., who has erected proper 
works for it on the banks of the Tagus." * 

Since Mr. Swinburne travelled, considerable im- 
provements have taken place ; but these again have 
been succeeded by disastrous changes. On the inva- 
sion of the Peninsula by the troops of Napoleon in 
1808, Madrid was taken possession of by Murat. The 
Spanish troops in the capital at that time amounted 
to only 3,000, while in and about Madrid the French 
had 25,000, who occupied the Buen Retiro, and the 
heights of Casa del Campo ; besides which they had 
10,000 in Aranjuez, Toledo, and at the Escurial. 
Hopeless as was resistance, yet, on the 2d of May, 
when the last members of the royal family were de- 
parting, the inhabitants rose en masse against the 
invaders. The origin of the insurrection is not 
known ; but the alarm and impulse having been 
given, every man of the lower ranks, who could arm 
himself with any kind of weapon, ran to attack the 
French. " There is no other instance upon record,'* 
says Dr. Sou they, " of an attempt so brave and 
so utterly hopeless, when all the circumstances are 
considered. The Spanish troops were locked up in 
their barracks, and prevented from assisting their 
countrymen. Many of the French were massacred 
before they could collect and bring their force to act. 
But what could the people effect against so great a 
military force, prepared for such an insurrection, and 
eager, the leaders from political, the men from per- 
sonal feelings, to strike a blow which should overawe 

* Swinburne, vol. i. pp. 162 I/". The most conspicuously 
placed, Townsend says, is the armour of Montezurna. 

90 SPAIN. 

the Spaniards, and cause themselves to be respected ? 
The French poured into the city on all sides ; their fly. 
ing artillery was brought up ; in some places, the 
cavalry charged the populace ; in others, the streets 
were cleared by repeated discharges of grape-shot. 
The great street of Alcala, the Puerta del Sol, and 
the great square, were the chief scenes of slaughter. 
In the latter, the people withstood several charges, 
and the officer who commanded the French had two 
horses killed under him : General Grouchy also had a 
horse wounded. The infantry fired volleys into every 
cross street as they passed, and fired also at the win- 
dows and balconies. The people, when they felt the 
superiority of the French, fled into the houses ; the 
doors were broken open by command of the generals 
of brigade, Guillot and Daubrai, and all within who 
were found with arms were bayoneted ; and parties 
of cavalry were stationed at the different outlets of 
Madrid, to pursue and cut down those who were fly- 
ing from the town. A part of the mob, seeking an 
unworthy revenge for their defeat, attacked the French 
hospital ; and some of the Spaniards who were em- 
ployed within, encouraged at their approach, fell upon 
the sick and upon their medical attendants. But 
these base assailants were soon put to flight. 

"At the commencement of the conflict, Murat ordered 
a detachment of 200 men to take possession of the arse- 
nal.* Two officers happened to be upon guard there, 
by name Daoiz and Vellarde, the former about thirty 
years of age ; the latter, some five years younger, was 

* " This building had been the residence of the British ambas- 
sador, Sir Benjamin Keene, in the middle of the last century. 
There he died, and there he was interred, for there is no burial- 
place for Protestants at Madrid, and the body of a heretic could 
not be suffered to pollute a Catholic church !" 

SPAIN. 91 

the person who had been sent to compliment Murat 
on his arrival in Spain. Little could they have fore- 
seen, when they went that morning to their post, the 
fate which awaited them, and the renown which was 
to be its reward ! Having got together about twenty 
soldiers of their corps, and a few countrymen who 
were willing to stand by them, they brought out a 
twenty-four pounder in front of the arsenal, to bear 
upon the straight and narrow street by which the 
enemy must approach, and planted two others in like 
manner to command two avenues which led into the 
street of the arsenal. They had received no instruc- 
tions ; they had no authority for acting thus ; and if 
they escaped in the action, their own Government 
would, without doubt, either pass or sanction a sen- 
tence of death against them for their conduct ; never, 
therefore, did any men act with more perfect self- 
devotion. Having loaded with grape, they waited till 
the discharge would take full effect, and such havoc 
did it make, that the French instantly turned back. 
The possession of the arsenal was of so much import- 
ance at this time, that two columns were presently 
ordered to secure it. They attempted it at the cost 
of many lives ; and the Spaniards fired above twenty 
times before the enemy could break into the neigh- 
bouring houses and fire upon them from the windows. 
Velarde was killed by a musket-ball. Daoiz had his 
thigh broken : he continued to give orders sitting, till 
he received three other wounds, the last of which put 
an end to his life. Then, the person to whom he left 
the command offered to surrender ; while they were 
making terms, a messenger arrived, bearing a white 
flag, and crying out, that the tunnilt was appeased. 
About two o'clock, the firing had ceased every where, 
through the personal interference of the Junta, the 

92 SPAIN. 

Council of Castile, and other tribunals, who paraded 
the streets with many of the nobles, and with an 
escort of Spanish soldiers and Imperial guards inter- 
mixed. It might then have been hoped that the 
carnage of this dreadful day was ended. The 
slaughter among the Spaniards had been very great. 
This, however, did not satisfy Murat. Conformably 
to the system of his master, the work of death was to 
be continued in cool blood. A military tribunal, 
under General Grouchy, was formed, and the Spaniards 
who were brought before it, were sent away to be 
slaughtered, with little inquiry whether they had 
taken part in the struggle or not. Three groupes of 
forty each were successively shot in the Prado. 
Others, in like manner, were put to death near the 
Puerto del Sol and the Puerto del S. Vicente, and by 
the church of N. Sefiora de la Soledad, one of the 
most sacred places in the city. In this manner was 
the evening of that second of May employed at 
Madrid. The inhabitants were ordered to illuminate 
their houses, a necessary means of safety for their 
invaders, in a city not otherwise lighted ; and through 
the whole night, the dead and the dying might be 
seen distinctly, as in broad noon-day, lying upon the 
bloody pavement. When morning came, the same 
mockery of justice was continued ; and fresh murders 
were committed deliberately, with the forms of mili- 
tary execution, during several succeeding days." * 

On the 20th of July, 1808, the intrusive king 
entered Madrid, the battle of Rio Seco having opened 
the way to the capital ; but he had not been here 
many days, when the news of the battle of Baylen, 
which led to the evacuation of Andalusia, compelled 

* Southey's Peninsular War, vol. i. pp. 24650. 

SPAIN. 93 

him to consult his safety by retiring to Vittoria. In 
the following December, Napoleon entered Madrid in 
person, to re-establish the royal fugitive on his pre- 
carious throne. The inhabitants made every prepara- 
tion to defend the place ; and Morla, the governor, 
made a shew of resistance. An attack was commenced 
on the Buen Retiro, which had been fortified with 
some care ; and a breach being made in the walls, the 
place was carried, but not till after a thousand 
Spaniards had fallen in defending it. The French 
were repulsed from the gates of Fuencanal and 
Segovia ; but the other outlets were won, and the fall 
of the city would have been inevitable, though the 
conflict would have been dreadfully sanguinary, had 
not Napoleon, anxious to avoid incurring the odium 
of destroying the capital, suspended the attack, and 
allowed Morla to capitulate. On the 22d of January 
following, after the abandonment of Galicia by the 
English army, Joseph the First re-entered Madrid 
amid the " symphonies" of a hundred pieces of artil- 
lery ; and a Te Deum concluded the solemn mockery 
of his re-instalment in the throne. Here he now 
for some time^ maintained his court, till the battle of 
Vittoria, on the 21st of June, 1813, led to a definitive 
liberation from the French yoke. In the revolution 
of 1820, Madrid took an early part, and Ferdinand 
was compelled to accede to the popular demand for the 
constitution of 1812. Another French invader has 
since then occupied the seat of the fugitive Constitu- 
tional Government ; fresh horrors have desolated the 
city; and Ferdinand has returned, the absolute tyrant 
of a humbled and enslaved people. 

Mr. Quin gives us a picture of Madrid as it was in 
1823. " There were at one time," he says, " no 
fewer than 146 churches and chapels in Madrid, 33 

94 SPAIN. 

monasteries, and 29 nunneries. Such have been the 
changes wrought on these buildings and establish- 
ments by the all-plundering hands of the French and 
the reforming laws of the Cortes, that there are very 
few of them at present worth visiting. The royal 
palace also bears traces of the French invasion. It 
appeared to me a much handsomer building than the 
Tuilleries. It is entirely of stone work ; the gates and 

doors are of mahogany The two additional wings 

commenced by Charles III. spoil, however, the har- 
mony of the edifice, and being in an unfinished state, 
disfigure the general appearance of a palace which 
would otherwise deserve to be styled the handsomest 
in Europe." This traveller's description of the 
carnival of February ] 823, is too characteristic to be 

" Little would any person who had seen the streets 
of Madrid during the carnival*, imagine that at this 
period, Spain was harassed by internal factions, 
threatened with a foreign invasion, and reduced 
almost to the verge of national bankruptcy. The 
jubilee of this festive season is displayed chiefly in the 
number, diversity, and gayety of the masques, which 
animate the principal streets. About noon, they 
begin to make their appearance, traversing the streets 
in groupes, and between four o'clock and half-past 
five, they all meet in the Prado, which is crowded 
with visitors, and they perform such antics as are 
suitable to the characters which they represent. On 
the first day, there was a slight sprinkling of these 
masques on the Prado. The most amusing fellow 
amongst them was a shoemaker, who carried a rule 
of an immense size ; with this machine in his hand, 

* ' Sunday, 9th, Monday, 10th, and Tuesday, llth of February." 

SPAIN. 95 

he claimed the privilege of approaching the hand- 
somest ladies in the Prado, in order to measure their 
feet. They complied with the operation, particularly 
those who had delicately shaped feet to display, with 
the utmost good-nature. A number of women, who 
were collected in the middle of the street of Alcala, 
raised an incessant shout of laughter, mingled with 
attempts at singing, while they tossed a stuffed figure 
of Sancho in a blanket. The representation of this 
faithful follower of Don Quixote, when whirled aloft 
in the air, excited irrepressible mirth ; and the shout 
was doubled when, by the awkwardness of the women 
in tossing the figure, it fell upon some of the by- 
standers. No man was permitted to assist them in 
this operation, as time out of mind it belongs exclu- 
sively to the other sex. It is impossible to give an 
idea of the enjoyment which poor Sancho created. 
It was a scene of downright fun, shout after shout, 
talk, laughter, song, such as the weeping philosopher 
himself could not have resisted, had he witnessed it. 

" At night, there was a masquerade at the Teatro 
del Principe, and so great was the demand for admis- 
sion, that at half -past ten, when the doors were opened, 
not a ticket was to be had, except from the retailers 
persons who buy up a number of tickets in the morning, 
at the common price, one dollar each, and at night sell 
them for two, and sometimes even three dollars. It 
was calculated, that at least eighteen hundred persons 
were present, and of these, perhaps, not more than 
fifty were without masks. There is this difference 
between a Spanish and an English masquerade, that, 
at the latter, scarcely any person is seen dressed in 
character, who does not at the same time attempt 
some exhibition in which that character is developed. 
A hermit assumes the language of the cell, a doctor 

90 SPAIN. 

offers his prescriptions, and a poet pesters every body 
with his rhymes. But at a Spanish masquerade, 
the character reaches no further than the dress ; and, 
under different disguises, all meet for one purpose, 
that of spending the whole night till morning dawns 
in dancing. Indeed, it can scarcely be said that, in 
the generality of the dresses, any character is intended 
to be represented. The object seems to be to effect 
the most complete concealment by the comic aspect of 
the masks, and by dresses which have little relation 
to their features. The voice too is disguised, and 
there is kept up a constant din of feigned tones and 
squeaking salutations. The dances follow each other 
in the order of country-dances, rigadoons, and waltzes ; 
and as this is an amusement to which the Spaniards 
are passionately attached, one may imagine the spirit 
with which it was maintained till a late hour the 
following morning. Several persons of distinction 
were present, who, under cover of their masks, 
mingled without fear of discovery in the joyous scene, 
and frequently danced, for aught they knew, in the 
same circle with their wives or husbands, though 
perhaps not exactly intending such a rencontre. 

" It is impossible to avoid praising the urbanity 
and decency which presided over the amusements of 
the night. Not the slightest incident occurred to 
disturb the harmony of the meeting, crowded as it 
was. An excellent band occupied the orchestra, and 
the different successions of the dances were arranged 
by two or three officers, whose dictates were instantly 
obeyed, as law, by every part of the company. There 
were guards of soldiers in attendance ; but, from the 
great order which prevailed, their presence seemed 
almost unnecessary. In the coffee-room, refreshments 
were served at a moderate price. 


" The number of masks on the Prado on the second 
day (Monday) was very considerable. In the evening, 
several ladies and gentlemen attended Lady A'Court's 
tertulia in fancy dresses. The young Marquis of 
Santa Cruz appeared very elegantly dressed as a 
Moorish prince. The naturally dark Spanish coun- 
tenance becomes this dress exceedingly. His mother, 
the marchioness, who is yet in the prime of life, and 
who, before her marriage, was considered the most 
beautiful woman in Spain, was arrayed in a vest and 
turban of silver tissue, which set off her person to 
great advantage. The young Marchioness of Alca- 
nisas presented herself in the ancient dress of Anda- 
lusia, which, without being costly, is extremely 
beautiful. Her two younger sisters appeared also in 
provincial dresses, which became them remarkably 
well, particularly that of the youngest, who was dressed 
as a Mallorcine, or native of Majorca. The Dutchess 
of Frias was attired as Cleopatra, with a long, flowing, 
white veil, her bosom starred with diamonds. Several 
others of the company were fancifully arrayed : 
amongst the ornaments were a profusion of diamonds, 
and elegantly wrought gold and silver crosses, the 
favourite decorations in all Catholic countries. Lady 
A'Court, who was attired in a rich lace dress, pre- 
sided with her usual dignity over this animated and 
elegant scene. The company began to pour in at ten 
o'clock. Soon after that hour the rooms were crowded, 
and dancing commenced. It was an extremely inte- 
resting sight, to view the various Spanish provincial 
dresses, set off by so many fine forms, mingling 
together on this gay occasion. The Spaniards seemed 
to enjoy it much, and to the foreigners who were 
present, it was productive of equal delight. The com- 

98 SPAIN. 

pany did not separate till a late hour the following 

" On the third and last day of the Carnival (Shrove 
Tuesday), ' all the world and his wife,' to use a 
Spanish saying, were out. There were at least a 
thousand persons of both sexes, young and old, 
masqued, who traversed the Prado in groupes ; a task 
which they would have found difficult enough, on 
account of the vast crowd which attended, if every 
disposition had not been shewn to accommodate them. 
One of the first groupes which appeared was headed by 
a watchman, who held before him an old iron lantern. 
Some of this groupe were dressed in a very fantastic 
manner* Another groupe was headed by a musician, 
who played on a broken old guitar with one string. 
In another quarter were seen Don Quixote and his 
man Sancho. One mask excited great amusement, 
who had a stuffed figure so attached to him that he 
appeared to be riding upon a man's back. In the 
conception of these and innumerable other masks, a 
great deal of the spirit of broad comedy prevailed. 
But a groupe of five masks, one of whom was seated 
on an ass, his face turned towards the animal's 
tail, afforded the greatest amusement of all. By an 
inscription placed on his hat, it appeared that he 
was intended to represent a 4 Diplomatist of Verona.' 
He held in his hand some sheets of blank paper, and 
he observed a most important silence. On his right 
hand he was attended by a mask, the representative 
of the Regency of Urgel ; and on his left, the Russian 
and Prussian ambassadors. The King of France was 
stationed at the ass's tail. They were received with 
shouts of laughter wherever they appeared. An old- 
clothes man, with a bag on his shoulder, and hat of 

SPAIN. 99 

rush matting, with a leaf a yard wide, presented also 
a droll appearance. From the Prado he pursued his 
way into the streets, stopped before the balconies 
where he saw any ladies, viewed them for a while 
through his immense tin eye-glass, and then ran off to 
another part of the street. A mask with the face 
behind, giving the idea of a man walking backwards, 
shook the sides of all the old women with laughter. 
Some grave masks appeared on horseback ; others in 
caleches, giving curious ideas of contrasts ; and, in 
fact, all Madrid seemed to have taken leave of their 
senses on this occasion. It was observable, however, 
that in all this crowded scene, not the slightest dis- 
turbance occurred, no altercation of any sort, no 
picking of pockets (as would have happened in London 
if such a scene were exhibited there), and, above all, 
not the least approach to indecorum was to be disco- 
vered. Every body appeared to be actuated by an 
innocent spirit of mirth ; and, immense as the crowd 
was, the police deemed it unnecessary to take the least 
precaution for securing public order. The weather 
was delightfully fine. 

" At night, the masquerade at the Teatro del 
Principe was crowded. The theatre was not cleared 
until eight o'clock on the morning of Ash Wednesday. 
This being the first day of Lent, the Prado presented 
a very different aspect from that of the last three days. 
A penitential stillness reigned in the streets, and the 
churches were crowded with those persons who, during 
the Carnival, were perhaps the gayest of the gay. 
The theatres were all ordered to be shut during the 
Lent, as no public amusements of any sort were per- 
mitted, except musical concerts, which were conducted 
upon a minor scale, at an assembly-room called the 
Cruz de Malta. In the course of the Lent, however. 

100 SPAIN. 

this rule was a little relaxed for the first time, as 
operas were allowed to be performed twice a week." 

Among the few objects of literary or scientific inte- 
rest which the Spanish capital presents, the royal 
cabinet of natural history claims to be noticed. In 
the same edifice, which forms one of the chief orna- 
ments of the street of Alcala, are held the meetings 
of the Academy of Fine Arts, founded by Philip V. 9 
This fine museum is open to the public on certain 
days in the week, and every person of decent appear- 
ance is gratuitously admitted. " The collection of 
animals, birds, ores, spars, and other articles of 
natural history, is not," Mr. Semple says, " superior, 
perhaps, to those of many other countries ; but the 
curiosities from America, which are shewn apart, are 
such as can no where else be found. Not only the 
skins of animals and birds peculiar to that continent 
are here preserved, but also the arms, dress, and 
utensils of the ancient Peruvians and Mexicans. 
Among these may be observed the great standard of 
the Mexicans, the drinking-cup of Montezuma, formed 
of a single precious stone, and his golden sceptre." 
There is the skeleton of a nondescript animal, appa- 
rently larger than the elephant, which Was dug up at 
Buenos Ayres. The royal library, formed in 1712, is 
also open to the public : it amounted, many years 
ago, to upwards of 100,000 volumes, exclusive of a 
large collection of manuscripts. 

Before the revolution of 1812, there were only two 

* This double appropriation of the building is happily expressed 
in the inscription : Carolus III' naturam et artem sub tino tecto in 
publicam utilitatem consociavit anno M.DCC.LXXIV. A new build- 
ing for the museum was begun many years ago, near the Prado, 
which promised to surpass in architectural beauty every edifice in 
Madrid ; the architect's name was Villanueva. 

SPAIN. 101 

newspapers published in the capital. One of these, 
the Diario, consisted merely of government ordi- 
nances and advertisements : it was small and hadly 
printed, but had a sale of about 2000 daily. The 
other, the Gazeta, was the Spanish Moniteur. The 
expansion of the public mind which followed the sub- 
sequent changes, appeared from the number of political 
pamphlets which issued weekly from the press, " some 
of them written with eloquence, irony, and humour, 
that would not have disgraced the best age of Spanish 
literature," also, translations, in a cheap form, of 
several English and French political works, and a 
considerable number of short-lived periodical journals. 
The Espectador (Spectator), the principal official 
journal of the Constitutional Government, and the 
organ of the Freemasons, had a daily sale of about 
5,000 : with the exception of the articles contributed 
by San Miguel, it was heavily written. The Universal 
was a ministerial paper, which affected to support the 
cause of the Moderates, and was partly supported by 
the Afrancesados (Bonapartists) : of this paper, 
during the ministry of Martinez de la Rosa, above 
7,000 were sold. The Indicador was at first the 
Morning Post of Madrid ; it then became the organ 
of the Landaburian Society, which led to its being 
merged in the Patriota Espanol, a short-lived paper, 
supported by the Communeros. The Zurriago (Scourge) 
was an occasional publication in the form of a small- 
sized pamphlet, written with peculiar acrimony and 
democratic virulence : its sale varied from 5,000 to 
14,000. The Telegrafo appeared four times a 
week, printed on ballad-paper, price one half-penny. 
Of provincial papers there were many ; but the only 
one of any reputation was the Liberal Guipuscoana, 

102 SPAIN. 

.published at St. Sebastian.* All of these, it is pre- 
sumed, have been suppressed or discontinued since the 
fall of the Constitutional Government, and Madrid 
has relapsed into gloom, formality, and apathy. 

Under the old regime, which is now re-established 
in the person of the absolute king, almost the whole 
population of Madrid might be considered as a mere 
appendage to the court, which regularly shifted, ac- 
cording to the different seasons of the year, to San 
Ildefonso, the Escurial, and Aranjuez, and its absence 
was immediately felt. In order to check the ancient 
feudal spirit, the whole of the Spanish nobility were 
required to reside in the capital ; and what was at 
first the effect of a political arrangement, became at 
length so much established by fashion, that banish- 
ment to the country was deemed a grievous punish- 
ment. " From this great concourse of nobility," says 
Mr. Semple, " the manners even of the lower classes 
partake of much urbanity, mixed, however, with an 
attention to punctilios. If two porters meet, they do 
not fail to salute each other with the title of senor and 
caballero. All ranks are jealous of giving the wall in 
walking the streets, and duels have not unfrequently 
taken place on this account. Assassinations are, 
however, less frequent, considering the population, 
than in most of the great towns in Spain." 

In their diet, the citizens are temperate and uni- 
form. The universal and regular dish for all classes 
is the poteheiro, a stew of meat with an excellent 
species of large pea which grows in the utmost perfec- 
tion near San Ildefonso. With by far the greater part 
of the population, this forms the whole dinner, and is 
truly a national dish, being regularly served every day 

* Quin, pp. 20610. 


at the king's table, as well as at that of the poorest 
mechanic. Another favourite dish is called gazpacho, 
consisting of bread, oil, vinegar, onions, salt, and red- 
pepper mixed together in water. With such a mess, 
a Spaniard of the lower class appeases his hunger for 
the whole day. To these national dishes may be 
added, the sopa de gato, or soup-meagre, made of 
bread, oil, salt, garlick, and water ; and migas, crums 
of bread, fried with oil, salt, and pepper. On the 
latter, or on rice with a sausage or a bit of pork -lard 
boiled in it, the Spanish troops have subsisted for 
months, during the first Peninsular war, without a 
murmur. In almost all the dishes, except the pote- 
heiro, oil is greatly used, and that not of the best 
quality.* Two other chief ingredients in Spanish 
cookery are, the tomata, or love-apple, and the green 
pepper pod : the former stewed, and the latter boiled 
and eaten with bread, form, in their seasons, very 
material articles of food among the lower classes. 
The only three decent inns in Madrid are kept by 
Italians. The markets are scantily supplied with 
meat, beef and veal from Aragon. mutton from 
Toledo and Leon, pork from Estremadura, game from 
Old Castile and other districts, and fish from Valen- 
cia, but plentifully with vegetables and fruit from 
Valencia and Aragon, flour from Old Castile, and 
wine from La Mancha. The grapes, melons, peaches, 
and cherries, are delicious. 

* " The oil of Valencia is excellent, but is never met with on the 
roads ; and an Englishman is astonished to find that, except at 
Madrid, he cannot obtain at any price such good oil as is com- 
monly used in London. There are some landlords that draw their 
wine and their vinegar from the same cask ; but all of them draw 
the oil for their lamps and their ragouts from the same jar." 
SBMPLJE, vol. i. p. 71. 

104 SPAIN. 

During dinner, the Castilians drink plentifully of 
wine diluted with water, and a few bottles of French 
wine terminate the repast ; coffee is then served up, 
after which the company retire to take their siesta. 
Fresh parties are formed in the evening, either for the 
prado, the theatre, or tertulias. " In the use of wine," 
says Mr. Semple, " they are certainly temperate; and 
a drunken Spaniard, even of the lowest class, is scarcely 
ever seen in the streets of Madrid. To atone for 
this, they smoke immoderately, and at all hours, from 
their first rising to their hour of going to bed. They 
do not use pipes, but smoke the tobacco leaf itself 
rolled up, or cut small and wrapped in a slight cover- 
ing, such as paper, or the thin leaves of maize. Great 
quantities of tobacco thus prepared are imported from 
the Havannah, under the name of cigars, in slight 
cedar or mahogany boxes, containing a thousand each. 
Those wrapt in the leaf of maize are called pachillos, 
or little straws, and are chiefly smoked by the women, 
for whose use also others are formed of white paper, 
ornamented with a kind of gold wire. I have seen 
women of some rank playing at cards, and smoking 
these pachillos. The great dutchess of Alva, one of 
the most sensible and noble-spirited women that Spain 
has produced for many years, was fond of using them. 
The amusements are now much the same as in other 
parts of Europe, and contain little that is national, 
since the suppression of the bull-fights by the late 
king. Humanity was the motive alleged for this sup- 
pression ; but it is said to have been occasioned by the 
people loudly expressing their dissatisfaction at some 
orders given by him relative to the management of a 
fight where he was present. The murmur was called 
a mutiny ; despotism was alarmed ; and either to shew 
his fears or his power, the king at once forbade this 

SPAIN. 105 

favourite diversion of the Spanish people. The heat 
of the climate discourages athletic exercises ; walking 
on the prado, riding in carriages, cards, smoking, and 
billiards, are therefore the principal amusements of 
the inhabitants of Madrid. Their theatres are seldom 
thronged but on the representation of a new piece ; 
and the public taste is certainly here not very correct, 
and often applauds not merely buffooneries, but inde- 
cency. Translations from Kotzebue and the German 
dramatists have also found their way to the Spanish 
boards ; and although favourably enough received, 
have not been crowned with that madness of applause 
which some years ago disgraced the public taste of 
England. They are fond of dramas taken from their 
own history ; and I have seen a Spanish audience 
kindled into a momentary enthusiasm by the repre- 
sentation of the brave actions of a Cortez, or a 
Pizarro ; or melted into tears at the sight of Columbus 
in chains, whilst he related what he had done for his 
country, and reproached an ungrateful court for his 
unrewarded services and unmerited sufferings. The 
play is generally followed by a dance of one or two 
persons, and is either the fandango or the bolero. The 
former is not very decent ; but the latter, in which 
the dancers keep time with their castanets, is pleasing. 
The people are astonishingly fond of both, and, 
although the dance lasts but a very short time, appear 
often to derive more pleasure from it than from the 
whole play. The dress of the female dancers is that 
of the Andalusian women, carried to excess in orna- 
ments, spangles, and fringes, but producing a rich and 
seductive effect." 

" The religious processions are managed here with 
great magnificence, and may indeed be termed one of 
the principal amusements of the people. Sometimes 


106 SPAIN. 

it is the relique of a martyr, sometimes of a female 
saint, and even of an apostle, or a primitive father of 
the church. The invaluable skull, or arm, or finger 
is carried through the streets, encased in gold, and 
covered with a canopy, and the people throw them- 
selves on their knees as it approaches them. But 
great is the joy when the entire body of a saint, or a 
whole bag of holy bones, is the subject of the piece. 
Notice is publicly given of the streets through which 
the procession is to pass, and the balconies are hung 
with rich carpets and velvet curtains, at the same 
time that they are crowded with women dressed in 
their finest clothes. First marches a band of music 
playing solemn tunes ; then choristers, who chant 
anthems ; and they are followed by a long, double 
row of monks, with lighted tapers in their hands, and 
generally clothed in white. A little boy, and some- 
times a man, walks alongside of each of the monks, 
and catches the wax which drops from the tapers ; 
and it is indeed astonishing how much is thus col- 
lected in the course of a single procession. At length 
appears the holy relic, carried by six or eight sturdy 
priests, on a shrine of massy silver, and shaded from 
the night air by a rich canopy of silk. A priest pre- 
cedes it, swinging a silver censer, which throws out 
clouds of perfume, and walking backwards, that he 
may not seem to shew any disrespect to the sacred 
bones. A company of soldiers, with fixed bayonets, 
closes the procession ; and happy are they who are 
chosen for this service, not only on account of the 
holiness of the office, but also because they are paid a 
quarter of a dollar each. A vast crowd of both sexes, 
and of every age and condition, follow the whole with 
heads uncovered. I saw the relics of Santa Barbara 
thus carried and thus attended. It was on the very 

SPAIN. 107 

same day and hour, some thousand years ago, as every 
body well knows, that she was carried up into heaven, 
being a particular favourite of the Holy Virgin. For- 
tunately, she left behind her all her clothes, even to 
the shoes on her feet, and the jewels in her hair, and 
which, it needs not be doubted, have ever since been 
scrupulously preserved. The place of the body was 
supplied by the image of a handsome young woman, 
richly dressed, reposing on a couch of silver, and her 
head encircled with golden rays ; but I was astonished 
to find that female dress had undergone so little varia- 
tion in Spain for these last thousand years. Santa 
Barbara might have gone to court without being 
stared at ; and even her shoes, which were of red 
Morocco leather, I should have imagined had been 
made only a few days before, had not two long rows 
of tapers, a band of soldiers, and a kneeling multitude 
sufficiently proved that they could not be less than a 
millennium old. A church had been previously illu- 
minated and prepared for her reception ; and rockets 
were fired in constant succession, until she was safely 
lodged before the grand altar. Here she lay in state, 
until at least one-fourth of the population of Madrid 
had passed in review through the church, and paid 
their devotions at her shrine." 

The standard of morals in the capital cannot be 
expected to be higher than in the southern cities. 
Mr. Townsend states, that jealousy is never discovered 
on the part of a modern husband, but fickleness 
in a lady towards her cortejo is disreputable. " As 
soon as any lady marries, she is teased by numerous 
competitors for this distinguished favour, till she has 
fixed her choice. If the lady is at home, he is at 
her side ; when she walks out, she leans upon his arm ; 
when she takes her seat at an assembly, an empty 

108 SPAIN. 

chair is always left for him ; and if she joins the 
country-dances, it is commonly with him." The 
husband is completely nobody at home, seldom visible, 
or, if visible, often a perfect stranger to those who 
visit in his family. The tertulias are given by the 
ladies, and an introduction to the lady of the house is 
all that is requisite to give a free admission. Friend- 
ship apart from passion, domestic virtue, and the 
charities of life, cannot be known where such a system 
prevails. The old Spaniard whom we meet with in 
novels, was a more respectable personage. Altogether, 
Mr. Southey says, this is " an unpleasant town," 
at least to an Englishman. " The necessaries of life 
are extravagantly dear, and the comforts are not to 
be procured. In summer, the heat is intolerable, 
and in winter, the cold is very severe; for the soil 
round the city produces nitre in great abundance, and 
the Guadarama mountains are covered with snow. 
You have then the agreeable alternative of being 
starved for want of a fire, or suffocated with the fumes 
of charcoal. Farewell Madrid ! I shall say of thee 
with the Portuguese poet (Pedro da Costa Pere- 

' Quien te quiere, no te sabe ; 
Quien te sabe, no te quiere.' 

He who likes thee, does not know thee ; 

He who knows thee, does not like thee." * 

Madrid has, properly speaking, neither suburbs nor 
environs. Immediately after passing through most 
of the gates, the traveller enters on a desert, and looks 
in vain, except toward the Manzanares, for woods, or 
even trees,-|- for pleasant villages or farm-houses. The 

* Southey's Letters from Spain, &c., vol. i. pp. 201, 12. 
t It would be easy," remarks Laborde, " to re-introduce fo- 
liage into a country that was once covered with wood, and has 

SPAIN. 109 

few hamlets seen at a distance in various directions, 
have a dull and melancholy appearance. Of the few 
favoured spots in the vicinity, the greater part be- 
long to the crown. Such is the Casa del Campo, to 
the east of Madrid, on the opposite side of the river ; 
the Zarzuela, two leagues north of Madrid, cele- 
brated for its gardens ; and the royal hunting-seat 
of the Pardo, situated between two hills on the 
left bank of the Manzanares, two leagues from the 
capital, and embosomed in forests, to which the 
Castilian monarchs used to repair before the court 
was transferred to Madrid. " The Manzanares," 
says Mr. Semple, " although in summer a mere 
rivulet, is yet of great importance to a large city, 
situated in the middle of an [arid country, and in a 
warm climate. As the heat of the summer increases, 
it is carefully husbanded, and led into narrow chan- 
nels, where several hundreds of washerwomen are con- 
stantly seen employed. In one of these channels, 
square holes are dug, and little huts covered with 
mats are erected over them. These are the baths of 
Madrid, and as the stream, though small, keeps per- 
petually running through them, they may well supply 
the place of more elegant edifices. In the month of 
September, these are struck, one after another, unless 
perhaps a solitary one remains until heavy rains among 
the hills swell the Manzanares into a torrent, and in 
a night's time sweep away all vestiges of these summer 
structures. These, however, seldom come unawares. 
For several days, large clouds collect on the summits 

since been cultivated with wheat and barley. There are few vine- 
yards, though the soil is most happily adapted to such plantations." 
Dillon assigns as one reason of the notorious antipathy of the 
Castilians to trees, that the farmers object to them as attracting 
and harbouring birds. 

II 2 

110 SPAIN. 

of the Guadarrama mountains, and announce by their 
thick darkness and vivid flashes of lightning, the 
heavy rains which are falling near the sources of the 
river. The distant thunder is faintly heard to roll 
among the valleys, and a few drops of rain even reach 
as far as Madrid : but in the morning, the air, which 
for several days has been oppressive, becomes cool and 
refreshing, and the inhabitants, with some satisfaction, 
desire a stranger to go and see their river, the Man- 

" The most interesting walk in the neighbourhood 
of Madrid is on the north side ; for, although the 
country is perfectly open, yet, the range of the Gua- 
darrama mountains, the nearest of which are about 
twenty miles distant, presents at all times a grand 
object. If the sky is clear, we contemplate with plea- 
sure their bold outlines, the deep shades which mark 
their valleys, and their prominent distant cliffs, en- 
lightened by the sun. Their appearance is still more 
interesting when shrouded, almost to their bases, in 
clouds and rolling storms ; and in winter, their sum- 
mits are covered with snow. Of a different nature is 
a walk of a few miles along the borders of a canal 
planted with trees, and not worthy of being men- 
tioned, except as the only one of its kind near the 
city. This canal was begun with great eagerness and 
great magnificence. It was destined to open a com- 
munication between the capital and the eastern pro- 
vinces, but particularly with the rivers which take 
their rise in the mountains on the borders of Arragon ; 
namely, the Tagus, running to the westward, and the 
Guadalaviar and the Xucar, which fall into the Medi- 
terranean, opposite to the islands of Ivica and Majorca. 
Reservoirs were sketched out among the Guadarrama 
mountains, to collect and preserve the winter rains ; 


several miles of the canal were dug, furnished with 
two or three locks, and planted along the borders with 
trees ; but, by some fatality, the project is still incom- 
plete, or rather has been abandoned for a new one. 
The traveller toward San Ildefonso or Segovia be- 
holds the ruins of immense mounds across the valleys, 
destined as reservoirs ; or, if at Madrid, may walk a 
few miles under the shade of trees, along the banks of 
a stagnant canal ; and he has then seen all that exists 
of this mighty project, the advantages of which to 
Spain were to have been incalculable. A third walk 
is along the great road leading to San Ildefonso and 
the Escurial. It runs for some distance along the 
Manzanares, shaded by trees ; and, after walking a 
few miles, we arrive at a small wood, the only one 
near Madrid. Here the citizens, both men and 
women, resort on their holidays in great numbers, 
forming cheerful parties under the shade of the trees, 
where they come and eat their dinners with a better 
relish than at home. As the Spanish women of all 
ranks are wholly free from reserve, they sing, and 
laugh, and joke with the passing stranger, whom they 
never fail to offer a share of their repast." 


TIIE grandest monument raised by the Spanish 
monarchs, one of their favourite places of resort, and 
their final home, is the Escurial ; more properly, 
the palace and monastery of San Lorenzo, distant 
seven leagues from Madrid.* The road for the first 

* Escurial is properly the name of the village, which is about 
a mile from San Lorenzo. Different etymologies have been as- 
signed ; among others, Esculetum, a beech-grove, and Scoria, the 
dross of iron-forges : but Casiri says that the word is Arabic (which is 

112 SPAIN. 

three leagues over the desolate plain, is wholly un- 
interesting. The forests of El Pardo and La Zarzuela 
are left on the traveller's right hand. The road then 
crosses a mountain, from the top of which is obtained 
the first view of the palace ; and thence descends into a 
basin, surrounded by hills of the wildest aspect, and 
covered with large stones or brushwood, with few 
signs of cultivation. On approaching the Escurial, 
the road improves ; and after entering the first gate, 
which is about a league from the palace, it is evident 
that pains have been taken to render the land more 
worthy of being included in the royal demesne. It is, 
however, so marshy and rocky as to produce scarcely 
any thing but stunted trees. " The beautiful and 
sacred bird, the stork," may often be seen marching 
here in all the pride of his snow-white plumage, and 
in conscious security. " The choice which Philip II. 
made of this sandy, rugged situation," remarks M. 
Bourgoing, " well coincides with the savage, morose 
character ascribed to that prince." We shall avail 
ourselves of Mr. Quin's visit to this place, as the latest 

" The edifice, popularly called ' The Escurial,' con- 
sists of a palace and a convent. But the title of 
palace belongs, in truth, more to the convent than to 
that part of the building which is appropriated to the 
royal residence. It unites a regal costliness and design 
with religious gloom : it is an abode fit for a kingly 
monk, who wished to withdraw occasionally from the 
cares of the throne, and to relieve or restrain the pro- 
jects of an ambitious mind, by the solitude of the clois- 

far more probable), signifying the rocky place. The quarry from 
which the stone was obtained with which the edifice is built, is in 
the vicinity ; and this circumstance is said to have been one of the 
motives for choosing the situation. 

SPAIN. 113 

ter and the affecting ceremonies of religion. To such 
an establishment a number of monks was necessary, 
in order that the hood and habit might give a cha- 
racter to the scene ; that the royal solitary might have 
opportunities of observing them move through the 
cloisters ; that the high altar might be decorously 
served, the processions fully attended, the hymns and 
psalms chanted by an adequate choir, with the assist- 
ance of organs ; and that the matin and vesper bells 
might soothe his wearied spirit. 

" Such a king was the founder of this royal monas- 
tery, Philip the Second, who dedicated it to St. Lo- 
renzo, in consequence of a particular devotion which 
he paid to that martyr, and of his success in the me- 
morable battle of St. Quintin against the French arms, 
on the 10th of August, 1557, the festival of St. Lo- 
renzo's martyrdom. In the plan of the convent, that 
of a pantheon was included, in pursuance of the will 
of the emperor Charles V., in which his remains and 
those of the empress were deposited, in order that 
frequent masses might be said over their tombs for the 
repose of their souls. The edifice was begun in 1563, 
and finished in 1584. It stands in an elevated situa- 
tion, between the declivities of two mountains which 
divide the two Castilles, and forms a rectangular pa- 
rallelogram,* measuring, from north to south, seven 
hundred and forty -four feet, and from east to west, 
five hundred and eighty. Its elevation is in due pro- 
portion : it is built chiefly of granite in the Doric 
order, the roofs covered with slates or lead, with the 
exception of the roof of the temple, which is of gra- 
nite. The towers, domes, spires, gates, doors, and 
windows, are constructed with a uniformity which, 
upon the first view of the Escurial, gives it rather a 
heavy appearance. Its plan is in imitation of a grid- 

114 SPAIX. 

iron, in reference to the torture suffered on that 
utensil by the martyr to whom the convent is dedi- 
cated. The royal residence forms the handle, and 
the feet are designated by the four towers in the 
corners of the edifice. 

" The original architect, Juan Bautista, avoided 
placing the four facades directly opposite the four 
points of the compass, in order to protect the building 
from the four cardinal winds, which of all others are 
the strongest, and particularly so in this situation. 
The principal front, in which is the general entrance, 
looks towards the west. Over the gate is a statue of 
St. Lorenzo, vested as a deacon, and holding a book 
in his left hand, and in his right a gridiron of gilt 
bronze. The whole building consists of three prin- 
cipal parts : the first, which occupies the whole dia- 
meter of the parallelogram from west to east, compre- 
hends the grand entrance, the patio or square of the 
kings, as it is called, and the temple. The second 
comprises the southern side, which is divided into four 
cloisters, and contains the cells of the conventual 
monks, and is therefore more particularly called the 
convent. The third part corresponds to the north- 
ern side, and is appropriated to the palace and two 

" On entering by the great western gate, the visiter 
finds himself in the square of the kings, so called from 
six statues of scriptural kings, which are in front of 
the temple. They are at least twice as large as life ; 
and it is a curious circumstance, that the six statues, 
as well as that of St. Lorenzo, already mentioned, 
were cut out of the same block of stone. It is more 
curious still, that as much of the block yet remains as 
would furnish materials for seven more statues equally 


" Beneath these statues is the principal entrance to 
the temple, which is a very noble building, and im- 
presses the mind with a stronger feeling of religious 
solemnity and awe than any sacred edifice I have ever 
seen. It consists of three aisles. In the middle aisle, 
over the principal entrance, is the choir, which looks 
towards the high altar ; and at the sides are several 
small chapels. The roof is vaulted, and there are 
eight compartments of it, exquisitely painted in fresco 
by Lucas Jordan. The most interesting subjects of 
these paintings are, the conception, the birth of 
Christ and adoration of the angels, and the prediction 
of the mysteries of our redemption by the four sibyls. 
The floor is formed of squares of white and grey mar- 
ble, alternately arranged. The whole building is 
three hundred and twenty feet long by two hundred 
and thirty feet wide : the height in proportion. It is 
constructed of the best granite, and in the Doric 

" The aspect of the great altar, which is at the 
eastern side of the temple, is extremely imposing. It 
is ascended by nineteen steps of red-veined jasper 
marble, which elevate it to a majestic height. The 
altar-piece is composed of eighteen columns of red or 
green jasper, in the intervals between which are fifteen 
bronze statues gilt in fire, together with eight large 
and original paintings. The bases and capitals of the 
columns are of gilt bronze, and they form four com- 
partments, which are in the four different orders of 
architecture the Doric, Ionic, Corinthian, and Com- 
posite. Behind the great altar is the sacrarium, 
where the tabernacle is placed. The steps leading 
to the altar, on which the tabernacle reposes, are 
formed of jasper inlaid with white marble. The walls 

116 SPAIN*. 

are painted in fresco with scriptural subjects, analo- 
gous to the ministry of the place, such as, the Israel, 
ites gathering" the manna, and the last supper. The 
custodia, which is now deposited there, is a "small tem- 
ple of gilt wood. The precious tabernacle which for- 
merly belonged to it, was taken away and broken up 
by the French. It enclosed a small custodia, which 
was ornamented with a profusion of gold and precious 

" At each side of the great altar in the temple are 
oratories for the king and other members of the royal 
family. Over these oratories are two small and curious 
chapels ; in each of which are five figures larger than 
life, of bronze gilt in fire, which are said to be good 
resemblances of the royal personages whom they re- 
present. The principal figure in the chapel, on the 
gospel side of the altar, is that of Charles V. in an 
imperial mantle, with his head uncovered. He is on 
his knees, his face turned towards the great altar, and 
his hands joined in the attitude of prayer. On his 
right hand is the empress Isabel ; behind, his daughter 
Maria, also in an imperial mantle ; and in order after 
her are Eleanora and Maria, sisters of the emperor. 
On the wall of this chapel there are several inscrip- 
tions, among them the following : ' Hunc locum si 
quis posterorum Caroli V. habitam gloriam rerum 
gestarum splendore superaveris, ijjse solus occupato, 
caeteri reverenter abstineteS ' If any of the posterity 
of Charles V. exceed in splendour the wonted glory of 
his achievements, do you alone occupy this place ; all 
others reverently keep away.' In the chapel on the 
epistle side are figures of Philip II. ; his fourth and 
last wife Ana; on his right hand, beliind her, his 
third wife Isabel ; on her right his first wife Maria, 

SPAIN. 117 

princess of Portugal, and her son Don Carlos behind 
her ; all in the same material and attitudes as those 
on the opposite side. The temple is decorated with 
forty paintings, including those of the great altar, by 
different masters. 

" From the temple, Padre Miguel conducted me to 
the pantheon, which is immediately under the great 
altar. We entered by a door of rich wood, and after 
descending a flight of twenty-five steps, we came to a 
landing-place, where is found the entrance to the 
principal staircase of the pantheon. Over the door is 
a slab of black Italian marble, upon which is an in- 
scription in letters of gilt bronze, importing that the 
vault is sacred to the mortal remains of the Catholic 
kings, that it was directed to be constructed by Charles 
V., planned by Philip II., begun by Philip III., and 
finished by Philip IV. Over this marble, at each 
side, is a bronze figure of Italian workmanship : that 
on the right represents human nature as perished, in 
signification of which a crown is falling from her 
head, and a sceptre from her hand, and on a small 
tablet is written, Natura occidit. The other figure is 
Hope, signified by the inscription, Exaltat Spes, and a 
torch of bronze. Passing through this superb entrance, 
we descended by a staircase of thirty-four marble 
steps, the landing-place, roof, and sides cased with 
jasper marble highly polished, and hung with two 
massive bronze gilt candelabras. The pantheon, where 
the remains are deposited, is a circular vault of thirty- 
six feet diameter by thirty-eight feet in height. The 
materials of which the pantheon and chapel adjoining 
it are formed, are jasper and other marbles of fine 
polish, filled with ornaments of gilt bronze, in the 
composite order of architecture ; and in all their parts 
the greatest uniformity and symmetry are observed. 


118 SPAIN. 

In the sides of the pantheon, to which but a very 
feeble light is admitted, are twenty-six niches, in 
which are deposited as many sepulchral urns of black 
marble, with bronze gilt mouldings, supported on 
lions' claws of bronze ; and in the front of each is a 
bronze gilt plate, on which are inscribed the name 
and titles of the persons whose remains it encloses. 
The relics mouldering here are those of the Emperor 
Charles V., of Philip II., Philip IV., Charles II., 
Luis I., Charles III., Charles IV., the Empress Isabel, 
Ana, fourth wife of Philip II., Margarita, only wife of 
Philip III., Isabel of Bourbon, first wife of Philip IV., 
Maria Ana of Austria, second wife of Philip IV., 
Maria Luisa of Savoy, first wife of Philip V., Maria 
Amalia of Saxony, only wife of Charles III., Maria 
Luisa of Bourbon, only wife of Charles IV. In this 
principal pantheon only crowned kings are interred, 
and such queens as continued the succession. The 
other queens, together with the princes and princesses, 
are deposited in another less splendid and more 
crowded vault, which is called the pantheon of the 

" It is not unworthy of remark, that although the 
construction of a sepulchral chamber for the remains 
of his august progenitor, his own, and those of other 
kings his successors, was one of the principal objects 
which induced Philip II. to build the Escurial, yet he 
gave his attention chiefly to the monastery. The 
original vault which he had constructed was a small 
one of common stone, without light or ornament, with 
a dark, narrow, winding staircase. This defect he 
acknowledged when he said, that ' he had raised a 
habitation for GOD, and that his son might, if he 
wished, make one for his bones and those of his 

SPAIN. 119 

" From the pantheon, we ascended to the principal 
library, which is situated over the porch in the square 
of the kings, and occupies a great extent on that side 
of the building. The floor is of white and grey 
marble, and the ceiling is admirably painted in fresco 
with subjects analogous to the place. In one com- 
partmeiit, Philosophy is shewing the terraqueous globe 
to Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, and Seneca, all in colossal 
figures ; and below the cornice is the school of Athens, 
divided into the two sects of Stoics and Academics. 
In another, Grammar, enthroned on clouds, surrounded 
by children with books and papers in their hands, 
presents to them a wreath of flowers to excite emula- 
tion. Beneath the cornice the sons of Noah are seen 
building the tower of Babel, where God confounded 
their language, and gave them different dialects ; and 
on the opposite side is represented the first school that 
was ever formed in the world, as far as we know, in 
which, by order of Nebuchodonosor, the Israelite and 
Chaldean boys were collected, in order to learn the 
Babylonian idiom and other sciences. A third com- 
partment is assigned to Rhetoric, in which are intro- 
duced Isocrates, Demosthenes, Cicero, and Quintilian. 
Cicero is pleading for Rabirius, accused of treason, 
and the painting represents the emotions which his 
eloquence kindles in the hearts of the judges, and the 
liberation of the prisoner. Arithmetic, dialectics, 
music, geometry, astronomy, and theology, have each 
their separate compartments, and the tout ensemble is 
magnificent. Along the middle of the room are ranged 
seven tables, two of porphyry, and the other five of 
marble, which sustain spheres, terrestrial and celestial 
globes, according to different systems. The book-cases 
are ranged on both sides, between the windows, and 

120 SPAIN. 

contain printed books in all languages. They are 
mostly bound in parchment ; upon their edges, which 
are all gilt, the titles are written, and for this reason, 
as well as for that of enabling the librarian to take 
them out and put them in again with greater facility, 
the books are placed with the edges outwards. Amongst 
the curiosities of this library, is preserved with much 
care a large folio volume, in which the four gospels 
and certain productions of the holy fathers 'are written 
in letters of gold. It was commenced by direction of 
the Emperor Conrad, and finished in the time of his 
son, Henry II., and is, therefore, at least 780 years 
old ; yet the letters appear as fresh as if they were 
recently executed. The pages are beautifully illumi- 
nated. Another curious volume is also shewn, which 
contains the Apocalypse exquisitely written. At the 
beginning of each chapter, there is an illuminated 
representation of its contents. 

" Over this library there is another apartment 
equally extensive, which is chiefly appropriated to 
manuscripts in Hebrew, Greek, Arabic, Latin, and 
other languages. Amongst these are several very 
ancient Bibles in different languages, particularly a 
Greek copy a little injured, which belonged to the 
Emperor Cantacuene. Not the least curious of these 
treasures is an Alcoran. The total number of the 
manuscripts is at. present estimated at 4,000 ; and 
that of printed books, in both libraries, at 24,000. 
Their number 6 was at one time considerably greater, 
but several of the former were consumed in a de- 
structive fire which occurred in the Escurial in 
1671'; and when the intrusive king was in Madrid, 
he ordered the printed books to be removed to the 
convent of the Trinity in that capital. Upon the 

SPAIN. 121 

restoration, they were conveyed back to the Es- 
curial, but 'upwards of ten thousand were found 

" From the libraries we descended to the sacristy, 
which, estimating it by the treasures it contains 
in paintings, may be considered the most valuable 
apartment in the building. Amongst these are several 
works of Leonardo da Vinci, Carlo Veronese, Titian, 
Raphael, Guido, and the Spanish Raphael, Murillo. 
It would have required at least a week to examine 
these and all the other paintings in the convent, with 
the attention which they deserve ; but there is one 
picture in the sacristy, which, from its divine execu- 
tion, claims particular notice. It is called La Perla, 
or The Pearl, as indicative of its superiority to all the 
others. It is five feet high, by three and three quar- 
ters wide. The Virgin has her right hand around 
the Child, who is sitting in her lap, and rests one leg 
on the right knee of his mother ; the other being ex- 
tended, the foot gently presses the little blankets in a 
cradle, out of which he appears to have been just taken, 
glowing with life and infantile loveliness. The left 
hand of the Virgin rests on the shoulder of St. Anne, 
who is upon her knees near her. The infant St. John 
is offering some fruits, in his garment of camel-skin, 
and the Child makes a motion to take them, at the 
same time turning his laughing face to his mother, 
who is looking on St. John. On one side of the pic- 
ture is seen an opening of light in the horizon, in 
front of which are a river, a town, and various little 
figures. On the other side there are ruins of an edifice, 
in the shade of which St. Joseph stands contemplating 
this beauteous scene. It is painted on pannel by 
Raphael ; and for its better preservation, it is usually 
covered with a green silk curtain, which is drawn 
i 2 

122 SPAIX. 

aside by the father, when he wishes to shew the 
greatest ornament of his convent. 

" In the southern front of this sacristy is preserved 
with great devotion, and amidst sumptuous ornaments, 
a consecrated host, the history of which is said to be 
as follows. At some period, not well ascertained, in 
the sixteenth century, a party of Zuinglian Dissenters 
entered the cathedral church of Gorcum, in Holland, 
threw this host on the ground, and repeatedly 
trampled upon it, till it was rent in three places. 
Whilst they were yet trampling upon it, one of the 
Zuinglians perceived that blood came forth from the 
three rents, which may still be seen. He was struck 
with such -a strange appearance, and went out to 
communicate it to the dean. Both proceeded to the 
church, and taking up the host with fearful respect, 
they carried it to Malines, where they deposited it in 
a convent of Franciscan friars. There it remained for 
a length of time, greatly venerated. From thence it 
was transferred to Vienna, and afterwards to Prague, 
where it remained for eleven years, until Philip II. 
obtained it from Rodolphus II. Emperor of Germany. 
It was deposited amongst the relics in the temple, 
until Charles II. erected a peculiar altar for it in the 
sacristy, whither it was removed in 1C84. Upon the 
invasion of the French, the monks, fearful that the 
enemy would profane it, concealed it in one of the 
cellars of the monastery, where it remained until the 
liberation of the country, when it was restored to the 
altar, where it is still preserved. Although such a 
length of time has elapsed since its original prepara- 
tion, it is yet as free from corruption as if it were 
but just consecrated. Such is the history of the 
4 Santa Forma,' as it is piously called by the monks, 
and they believe it to be true. 

t SPAIN. 123 

" Besides the sacristy, there are the principal 
lower cloisters, the chapter hall, the prior's hall, the 
vicar's hall, the old chapel, the principal upper cloister, 
the hall of morality, and other apartments, in which 
there are upwards of two hundred and fifty pictures, 
very many of them by the hest Italian and Spanish 
masters. I had not time to take more than a hasty 
view of so many works, and shall, therefore, omit any 
further notice of them. 

" One of the most magnificent things in the 
convent is the principal staircase. It is composed 
of two parallel flights of steps, each step being formed 
out of a single block of stone. The vaulted roof, 
with its fine fresco paintings, is, however, the great 
object of a stranger's attention. In the middle is a 
representation of the Trinity seated on a throne of 
splendid clouds, and surrounded by hosts of angels. 
On one side are the Virgin and other saints with the 
insignia of the Passion. Lower down are St. Lorenzo 
and several princes and kings. Charles V., in his 
imperial robes, is seen presenting the crown of 
Germany in one hand, and that of Spain in the 
other, and behind him is Philip II. with a globe in 
his hand. Below the cornice is an animated repre- 
sentation of the battle of St. Quintin, the history of 
which occupies a portion of three sides of this lofty 

" After going through the convent, there is little 
either in the palace or the college that can detain a 
visiter ; and he passes through them with a feeling 
that they are scarcely worth seeing." * 

Few edifices, Laborde remarks, have given rise to 
so great a variety of opinions as the Escurial. By 

* Quiii, pp. 2CO 271. 

124 SPAIN. 

almost all Spaniards, it has been regarded as the 
eighth wonder of the world. Swinburne says : " The 
orders employed are Doric and Ionic ; but the out- 
ward appearance of this vast mass is extremely plain, 
and I am sorry to say, in my eyes, extremely ugly. 
With its narrow, high towers, small windows, and 
steep, sloping roof, it certainly exhibits an uncouth 
style of architecture ; but the domes, and the immense 
extent of its fronts, render it a wonderfully grand object 
from every point of view.* The best side to see it 
from (for I tried them all) is about half a mile down 
the hill, on the Madrid road, as you are then so much 
below it, that the building hides the bleak mountain 
which presses very close upon it behind. The green 
fields and woods behind it make a good contrast, and 
set it off to the best advantage. The church, which 
is in the centre of all, is large, awful, and richly, but 
not affectedly ornamented. The cupola is bold and 
light." M. Bourgoing says : " Such a prodigious 
pile has unquestionably a very imposing air, but it by 
no means comes up to those ideas which its reputation 
might suggest. The architecture -is not splendid : it 
has the grave simplicity siiited to a convent, rather 
than the magnificence of a royal mansion. The west 
front is the only part which has an elegant portico. 
This principal entry is never thrown open to the 
Spanish monarchs or the princes of the blood, except 
on two solemn occasions : one of these is, when they 

* " The building is an oblong of 640 feet (Townsend and Quin 
say 740) by 580 ; so that, allowing besides 460 for the projection of 
the chapel and the king's quarter, the whole circumference amounts 
to 2,900 Spanish feet. The height up to the roof, all round, is 60 
feet, except on the garden side, where more ground has been taken 
away. The square towers at each angle, are 200 feet high. There 
are 200 windows in the western front, and 366 in the eastern." 
SWINBURNE, vol. ii. p. 224. The dome is SCO feet in height. 

SPAIN. 125 

are carried to the Escurial after their birth ; and the 
other, when their remains are carried out to be 

deposited in the vault which awaits them The 

most obvious defect in the architecture of the Es- 
curial is, that the principal objects are misplaced 

Stripped of its valuable collection of paintings, if the 
court did not annually display its magnificence here, 
it would be nothing more than a prodigious convent, 
more remarkable for its enormous bulk and massive 
proportions, than for the elegance of its decorations." 
Mr. Semple, on the other hand, says : " I know not 
what traveller has given it as his opinion, that the 
building is very splendid in its interior decorations, 
but exceedingly heavy as a whole. I never yet have 
seen a building so simple, without the least heaviness." 
At all events, it is, in M. Laborde's most convenient 
and all-comprehending phrase, a superb edifice. Some 
writers have gone so far as even to speak of an im- 
mense park attached to the Escurial ; while Mr. 
Semple, at once more accurate and more imaginative, 
was transported at the sublimity of its situation, in a 
spot, as it were, abandoned by nature, amid wild and 
barren mountains. " For my part," says Bourgoing, 
" I have seen nothing in the environs of the Escurial, 
but thinly scattered woods full of small rocks, inter- 
sected with meadows which are rarely green, and 
peopled with deer ; for there is no walled enclosure, 
no park, properly so called, and nothing exhibiting 
that character of pomp and grandeur by which you 
might be apprised of your approach to a royal habita- 
tion." Lastly, Mr. Townsend says : " The Escurial, 
as a residence, is far from pleasant. Were it low and 
sheltered, like Aranjuez, it would be agreeable in 
spring ; or, were it elevated, hanging to the north, 
and covered by thick woods, like San Ildefonso, it 

126 SPAIN. 

might be delightful as a retreat in summer ; but, 
exposed as it is to the full stroke of the meridian sun, 
and raised up near to regions covered with eternal 
snow, without shelter, and destitute of shade, it has 
no local charms at any season of the year. The 
ministers, foreign and domestic, give good dinners, 
and do every thing they can to make this solitude 
supportable ; but, as few ladies can be accommodated 
here, the assemblies want that gayety which they alone 
can inspire." In fact, Mr. Quin seems to be very 
correct, when he describes it as an abode fit only for a 
royal monk, for a king of Spain.* 


THE mountains amid which the Escurial stands, 
form a natural boundary between New and Old 
Castile. They consist, Mr. Semple says, chiefly of 
granite, immense blocks of which are seen on ap- 
proaching the small town of Guadarama, distant 
thirty miles from Madrid. Towards the summits, 
these mountains are bare in some parts, in others, 
covered with forests of oak, beech, and cork-trees. 
Some tracts are distinguished by pine-forests, which, 
although they approach the other species of wood, are 
still so clearly separate, as to mark a radical difference 
in the soil. " After reaching the summit, we see 
below, an astonishingly deep valley, the sides of which 
would be almost too steep even for goats, were they 
not covered with pines and lower bushes. The valley 

* See, for further details, 'Swinburne, vol. ii. pp. 222236 ; Bour- 
going, vol. i. pp. 205229; Laborde, vol. iii. pp. 144155; 
Townsend, vol. ii. pp. 119 123; and if these will not suffice, the 
pompous descriptions given by the Abte de Vayrac and M.Colmenac, 
and the Tour of the Abbe Pom, in seventeen volumes, one of 
which is wholly occupied with a description of this monastery. 

SPAIN. 12? 

has all the appearance of an enormous crater. The 
road to the bottom is cut in a zig-zag form, and sup- 
ported in many parts by stone walls or terraces. 
There are also several handsome fountains near the 
road, where the traveller may stop to refresh himself 
under the shade of trees." The snow was still very 
deep on the summits of these mountains when Swin- 
burne crossed them on the 10th of June. Leaving 
the Escurial on the left, the road ascends by the 
Puerto de Fuenfrio (cold spring). From this elevated 
pass, the whole country towards Segovia appears as 
level as the surface of a lake, and extended like the 
ocean ; but, as the traveller descends into the plain, 
he sees the mountains rise before him. The aspect of 
the scenery near the summit is majestically wild ; and 
some of the views which now and then open over the 
plains of Old Castile, the town of Segovia, and the 
palace of Rio Frio, are extremely picturesque. 

" In a deep recess, open and exposed only to the 
north wind, stands San Ildefonso, enjoying the fresh- 
ness, and gathering the fruits of spring, when all to 
the south of these high mountains, fainting with heat, 
are engaged in reaping and collecting the autumnal 
crops.* This change of climate in the space of eight 
leagues, (the distance from the Escurial to San 
Ildefonso,) induced Philip V. to build a palace here. 
San Ildefonso occupies three sides of a square, the 

* " The earliest fruits are but just ripe in August at St. Ildefonso ; 
carnations and roses then adorn the parterres ; September is the 
season for strawberries, raspberries, currants, and barberries ; and 

snow lies on the mountains till the beginning of June. Owing 

to its lofty situation, the night air, even after the hottest summer's 
day, is so piercing, that it makes precaution necessary, to guard 
against its sudden and pernicious effects." DILLON'S Travels, p. 109. 

128 SPAIN. 

two wings of which being joined, each by a long range 
of buildings designed for the king's retinue, and closed 
in at the bottom by iron gates and rails, the whole 
forms a beautiful and spacious area. The principal 
front, 530 feet in length, is to the south, looking to 
the garden ; and through its whole extent, the apart- 
ments communicate with all the doors on the same 
line." " The palace," Swinburne says, " is patch- 
work, and no part of the architecture is agreeable." 
The gardens, which occupy a ridge rising to the south, 
are laid out in the formal French style, with clipped 
hedges and straight walks. The trees are poor, 
starved limes, for the soil is too shallow, and the rock 
too compact, to allow of their striking deep root. To 
plant them, square beds were blown out of the rock 
with gunpowder, and then filled with earth, and they 
are only kept alive by watering. The quantity of fine 
water is one great recommendation of the place. A 
romantic brook rolls over the rocks at no great dis- 
tance from the town, through a large tract of thickets, 
affording his majesty the amusement of fishing. A 
walk has been made for a mile or two along the bank. 
" The water-works surpass all I ever saw," says 
Swinburne, " not excepting the finest at Versailles. 
The jets d'eau send forth a stream as clear as crystal, 

and it falls around like the sweetest, finest dew The 

most remarkable are eight fountains, dedicated to the 
principal heathen deities, and adorned each with its 
proper emblems. In one, Diana appears, attended 
by her nymphs, who are hiding her from Acteon. In 
another is seen Latona with Apollo and Diana, sur- 
rounded by sixty-four jets of water. The most sur- 
prising is Fame seated on Pegasus, with a trumpet to 
her mouth, throwing up a stream of more than two 

SPAIN. 129 

inches in diameter to the height of 132 feet.* But 
the most pleasing sight is the Plazuela de las Ocho 
Calles, where eight walks unite, each with its fountain 
in the centre, and where eight other fountains under 
lofty arches, supported by Ionic pillars of white Italian 
marble, form an octagon, adorned with images of 
Saturn, Minerva, Vesta, Neptune, Ceres, Mars, 
Hercules, and Peace, standing round it, and Apollo 
with Pandora in the middle. The statues are all of 
lead, varnished in imitation of brass. Besides foun- 
tains innumerable, here are vast reservoirs and falls 
of water, so disposed as to contribute much to the 
beauty of the place." One of the reservoirs at the 
foot of the mountain is allotted solely to the fountain 
of Diana. The larger one, by which the other water- 
works are supplied, is a very pretty lake called El 
Mar.-\- " When we consider," continues Mr. Town- 
send, " that the whole of the garden was a barren 
rock,: that the soil is brought from a great distance, 
and that water is conveyed to every tree ; when we 
reflect upon the quantity of lead used for the images, 
and of cast iron for the pipes, with the expense of 
workmanship for both, we shall not be surprised to 
hear that this place cost nearly six millions and a half 

* Mr. Semple says, fifty feet, and that It is visible at Segovia, ten 
miles distant. 

f The reservoirs, Mr. Semple says, do not, however, furnish 
water sufficient to make all the fountains play more than two or 
three times a year, one of which is always fixed for the great feast 
of St. John. 

t The mountain is granite, but on the top is found a mixture of 
clay and fine sand, which being mixed with decayed vegetable mat- 
ters, forms a light coating of earth which just covers the rock. At 
a short distance from the palace, near the powder-magazine, a 
vein of quartz appears above ground, running X. and S. for about 
half a league. DILLON, p. 112. 

130 S1>A1,V. 

Below the town is the royal manufactory of plate- 
glass, which supplies the kingdom with looking- 
glasses. " The largest mirrors are made in a brass 
frame, 162 inches long, 93 wide, and 6 deep, weighing 
nearly nine tons." Bottles and drinking-glasses are 
also made here. In 1776, the number of men em- 
ployed was 280, and twenty-seven mule-loads "of fir- 
wood were consumed daily. The profits accruing to 
the crown were trifling ; and the manufactory, Town- 
send remarks, proves a devouring monster in a country 
where provisions are dear, fuel scarce, and carriage 
exceedingly expensive. There was also a royal manu- 
factory of linen here, employing fifteen looms, by 
which the king was positively a loser ! 

Two short leagues from San Ildefonso, through an 
uncultivated country, abandoned to the royal deer, 
lead to the episcopal city of Segovia, once celebrated for 
its woollen manufactories. It is built on two hills 
and in the valley which separates them. " The 
unevenness of the crown of the hill," Swinburne says, 
" gives a wild look to the city. Most of the streets 
are crooked and dirty, and the houses are wooden 
and wretched." In the year 1612, 25,500 pieces of 
cloth were made here, which consumed 44,625 quin- 
tals of wool, employing 34,189 persons. In 1786, the 
average quantity made was Only about 4,000 pieces. 
In 1525, the city contained, in its twenty-five parishes, 
5,000 families. In 1786, they were reduced to 2,000. 
Besides the twenty -five churches, there were one- 
and-twenty convents. The cathedral is described by 
Swinburne as one of the handsomest churches in 
Spain, but Townsend speaks of it as having no great 
pretensions. It exhibits a mixture of the Gothic and 
the Arabian styles, and is nearly upon the model of 
the great church at Salamanca. The interior is cha- 

SPAIN. 131 

racterised by a majestic simplicity rarely seen in the 
Spanish churches. In one of the chapels is a Descent 
from the Cross in mezzo-relievo, by a disciple of Mi- 
chael Angelo, finished in 1570. The Alcazar, or 
royal castle, is in good preservation. It occvipies a 
commanding situation on a rock rising above the open 
country. " A very pretty river washes the foot of 
the precipice, and the city lies admirably well on each 
side of the brow of the hill. The declivity is woody, 
and the banks charmingly rural ; the snowy mountains 
and dark forests of San Ildefonso composing an awful 
back-ground to the picture. Towards the town, there 
is a large court before the great outward tower, so 
well described by Le Sage as the prison of Gil Bias. 
The rest of the buildings form an antique palace, 
which has seldom been inhabited by any but prisoners* 
since the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella, who were 
much attached to this situation. There are some 
magnificent halls in it, with much gilding on the ceil- 
ings in a semi -barbarous taste. All the kings of Spain 
are seated in state along the cornice of the great 
saloon. The royal apartments are now occupied by a 
college of young gentlemen cadets, educated, at the 
king's expense, in all the sciences requisite for forming 
an engineer. The grand-master of the ordnance re- 
sides at Segovia, which is the head establishment of 
the Spanish artillery. The mint is below the Alcazar, 
the most ancient in the kingdom. Copper only is 
coined here, which is brought from the mine of Rio 
Tinto, fourteen leagues from Seville." -f- 

* The Alcazar was long used as a prison for the Barbary cor- 
sairs who fell into the hands of the Spaniards, but who were 
released on the conclusion of an alliance between the Court of 
Spain and the Emperor of Morocco. 

t Swinburne, vol. ii. pp.24& 50; Townscnd, vol. ii. pp. 115 IK. 

132 SPAIN. 

Segovia, Mr. Semple says, retains more traces of 
the Moors, than any town in this part of the Penin- 
sula. The inn in which he put up had been a mag- 
nificent abode, built in the Moorish fashion round a 
patio. The castle must have been almost impregnable 
before the use of artillery. That the city was a place 
of some consideration in the time of the Romans, is 
evident from the aqueduct, supposed to have been 
built in the time of Trajan, and which is one of the 
most astonishing and best preserved Roman antiquities 
in the country. From the first low arches, at the point 
where it receives the rivulet, to the reservoir in the 
town, it is 2,400 Spanish feet in length. Its greatest 
height is 104 feet, where it is composed of a double row 
of arches, built of large square stones without mortar, 
over which is a hollow channel of coarser materials. 
" The spectator is terrified," says Bourgoing, " on 
comparing their diminutive base with their height." 
Swinburne says : " The aqueduct is not only an ad- 
mirable monument of antiquity for its solidity and 
good masonry, which have withstood the violence of 
so many barbarians and the inclemencies of the seasons 
during so many ages, but is also wonderfully beautiful 
and light in its design. I do not think the Pont du 
Gard equal to it in elegance of proportions." Some 
wretched houses have been built against the pillars of 
the arches, which, rising to only a third of its height, 
exhibit to still greater advantage the grandeur and 
nobleness of its dimensions. A small convent, too, 
exhibits its pitiful architecture at the angle formed 
by its two branches. The style of the arches, 175 
altogether in number, is the same as that of the bridge 
of Merida. Mr. Semple concurs in expressing astonish- 
ment " how such a mass of stones should hang toge- 
ther in the air for so many centuries." Near the 

SPAIN. 133 

posada at which he rested, this Traveller noticed, half 
buried in the earth, and serving as a seat, an antique 
sculpture, in basaltic stone, of a huge boar, " clearly 
neither of Grecian, Roman, nor Moorish workmanship, 
but resembling in its style the two military figures 
which now stand at the entrance of the botanical 
garden at Lisbon." Rudely carved images of a wild 
boar, or some such animal, are to be seen built into 
the bridges of Salamanca and Ciudad Rodrigo, and 
also near the churches of Gallegos and San Felice on 
the river Coa in Portugal. Tacitus states, that the 
ancient Estii, a Sclavonic tribe who have given name 
to Esthonia, worshipped a divinity under this symbol, 
which they carried with them on all their expeditions ; 
and a branch of this tribe are supposed to have passed 
into Spain, and to have occupied this part of Castile, 
extending themselves westward. At all events, this 
rude sculpture would seem to be a monument of the 
ancient Spaniards. 

A distance of eleven leagues, one of the poorest and 
most depopulated districts in Spain, separates Segovia 
from Olmedo, through which lies the direct road from 
Burgos to Madrid. This is a decayed town on an 
eminence, in an almost boundless plain of rich corn- 
land and pasturage. It was formerly a place of 
strength, and has a thick wall about three quarters of 
a league in extent. " Its interior announces a ruined 
city, destitute of population and industry, and exhi- 
biting symptoms of degradation and misery. Seven 
churches and seven convents, some brick-kilns, and 
some kitchen-gardens under the shade of the old walls, 
compose the whole fortune of the inhabitants." Soon 
after leaving Olmedo, the traveller passes the river 
Aldaja, the banks of which are prettily wooded ; and 
after traversing a very sandy tract of forest land, 

134 SPAIX. 

ascends a hill from which he discovers the plains of 
Valladolid, and the course of the Duero. 

Valladolid is described by Swinburne " as a very 
large, rambling city, full of edifices, which, during 
the reign of Philip III., who made it his constant 
residence, were the palaces of his great officers and 
nobility. Being abandoned by their owners, who have 
followed the court in all its different emigrations, they 
are fallen to decay, and exhibit a picture of the utmost 
desolation. The palace of the king is so ruined, that 
I could with difficulty find any body to shew me the 
spot where Philip had resided. The private houses 
are ill-built and ugly. The great square, some streets 
built upon porticoes, many colleges and convents, are 
still grand, and denote something of the magnificence 
of a place that had been long honoured with the pre- 
sence of its monarch. But, in general, Valladolid has 
the appearance of having been run up in a hurry to 
receive the court, and as" if it had been meant to re- 
build it afterwards at leisure, of more durable mate- 
rials than bad brick and mud, the composition of most 
of its present houses. The Dominican convent, a 
Gothic edifice, is the most remarkable in the city. 
The university is in the last stage of a decline, and 
trade and manufactures are at as low an ebb. It is 
melancholy to behold the poverty and misery painted 
in the meagre faces, and displayed in the tattered 
garments of the common people : the women go quite 

Yet, this is the second city of Old Castile, a bishop's 
see, and the seat not only of a university, but of a 
royal chancery. It stands at the confluence of the 
Esgueva and the Pisuerga, almost at the extremity of 
a large plain, surrounded with hills of gypsum and 
calcareous earth, the sides of which are generally 

SPAIN. 135 

planted with vines, and the flat summits are sown 
with grain. The ancient name of the city was Valli- 
soletum. Here Charles the Fifth received the news 
that his victorious troops had taken Rome, and made 
the pope his prisoner ; and in this city his successors 
held their court, till Philip IV. removed it to Madrid. 
In the time of the emperor, the population was esti- 
mated at 200,000 souls ; it does not now exceed a 
tenth of that number. The city covers a very large 
extent of ground, and the numberless spires, domes, 
and turrets of its sacred edifices, give it still the ap- 
pearance of a large metropolis ; but a large portion of 
the ground within the walls is occupied with gardens, 
squares, and orchards. In 1786, the city contained 
fifteen parish churches, five chapels of ease, forty-six 
convents, six hospitals, seven colleges, 5,000 families, 
and 20,000 souls. Among the colleges, there are two 
for British subjects ; one for the Scotch, and another 
for the English. The Scotch occupy the college of 
St. Ambrose, the oldest house of the Jesuits in Spain, 
where St. Francis Borgia and many of the early and 
most distinguished members of the order resided. 
They have a magnificent country house near Baccillo, 
a village eight miles from Valladolid : it is finely situ- 
ated on a wooded eminence overlooking the Duero 
and the whole plain ; and there are some fine vine- 
yards belonging to the college. They have also a 
college at Madrid, which is let as a mansion, and 
yields a considerable rent. The English college is 
more richly endowed. There are several corn-farms 
and vineyards belonging to it at Portillo, a village on 
an eminence, about four leagues from Valladolid, 
where there is a fine Moorish castle, enclosing a re- 
markable well-staircase, or spiral flight of steps, about 

136 SPAIN. 

six feet wide, constructed of hewn stone, and reach- 
ing from the summit of the hill to the plain below, 
with landing places leading to subterranean apartments, 
each capable of containing fifty men.* The English 
college possesses also a delightful villa, with vineyards, 
orchards, and corn-lands, at a place called Viana, on 
the well-wooded banks of a clear stream, about half 
way to Portillo. The Riberas de San Ambrosia, and 
of San Ignacio, extensive orchards on the banks of 
the Pisuerga, at either end of Valladolid, formerly 
belonging to the Jesuits, are also the property of this 
rich establishment. 

The university was founded by Alonzo XI., in the 
year 1346. When Mr. Townsend visited Valladolid, 
it had forty-two professors, and fifty doctors ; and in 
the years 1784, 5, there had entered and been matri- 
culated 1,299 students. At that time, the city had 
been much improved within a few years. M. Bour- 
going confirms the account given by Swinburne of its 
previous state of delapidation and wretchedness. " In 
1777," he says, " the first time I saw this city, I was 
disgusted with the filthiness which every where ap- 
peared, and by which all the senses were in turn 
assailed. Eight years afterwards I was less so ; and 
in 1792, I found Valladolid not only much cleaner, 
but greatly embellished." The entrance is described 
by Mr. Townsend as highly imposing. " Upon passing 
the first gate, you find a spacious area (the Campo 
Mayor), bounded by seventeen convents. From 
hence, entering through the second gate, the city 
strikes you with every appearance of antiquity. The 

* This excavation appears very closely to resemble the subter- 
ranean reservoir in the Dominican convent at Ronda. See vol i. 
p. 295. 

SPAIN. 137 

Plaza Mayor* is spacious and venerable ; yet, com- 
pared with the great body of the city, it is evidently 
modern. The cathedral, built by Juan de Herrera, 
is massive, heavy, and far from elegant. It has the 
Grecian arch, and the pillars in front are Doric, t The 
church and convent of San Benito are worthy of at- 

* It is surrounded with three rows of balconies, in which, it is 
computed, 24,000 persons may be seated. Here were held the 
triennial bull-fights. 

t This is, we presume, the new cathedral referred to by Bour- 
going. "It is described," he says, " by the Abbe Ponz, as a 
splendid monument. I saw in it nothing but a mass of brown, 
dirty-coloured stones ; a Doric order of the worst kind reigns in 
pilasters round the nave ; and a high wall, forming the back of the 
choir, conceals from those who enter, the view of the rest of the 

church The churches of the Dominicans and of San Benito 

have to boast of the kind of beauty peculiar to almost all the sacred 
edifices in Spain ; that is to say, they are spacious, and filled with 
altars overloaded with decorations and gilding: they contain, 
besides, some tombs of white marble, sculptured with admirable 
care. The works of sculpture, whether in wood or marble, may 
be referred to the era of the restoration of the arts in Spain ; an age 
which produced Juan de Juni, Berraguete, Becerro, and other 
artists little known beyond the Peninsula, but who would have 
done honour to more enlightened times." Vol. i. p. 50. Laborde 
states, that Herrera left the cathedral unfinished at his death, and 
that it has the appearance of being only half built. The fact is, 
that only one wing is finished. According to the original plan, 
it was to have been 400 feet by 240, in the figure of a cross, each 
wing having a tower surmounted with a cupola, and a larger dome 
was to have risen from the centre. The treasures of this church 
were inestimable. There was a custodia of solid silver, six feet 
high ; also, a triumphal car of massive silver, on which the host 
was placed in a shrine of gold, enriched with most valuable jewels, 
and fixed in the centre of a small temple of silver, with pillars 
of beaten gold. On the festival of Corpus Christi, this car was 
paraded through the city, preceded by the different religious 
orders, and followed by the bishop and other civil and ecclesiastical 
authorities, the streets being strewed with flowers and lined with 
troops, and the houses in the line of march hung with tapestry. 
Such well-known treasures can hardly have escaped the French 

138 SPAIN. 

tention; but the public edifice most to be admired is 
the church of San Pablo (belonging to the Dominicans), 
near the palace, whether we consider the elegance of 
the whole, or the high finishing of the figures and 
ornaments in bas-relief, which, after a lapse of three 
hundred years, seem to have suffered little by their 
exposure to the weather. The quadrangle of the 
novices in this building deserves the highest praise. 
The king's palace, rather elegant than grand,* is still 
preserved ; but all the palaces of the great nobility are 
going to decay. The buildings are chiefly brick, but 
some are of limestone. Among the materials, no 
inconsiderable quantity of granite, brought from the 
neighbourhood of Villacastin, at the distance of thirteen 
leagues, with many hundred pillars of the same mate- 
rial, remain as monuments of ancient splendour. At 
present, the poor are numerous, fed by the convents, 
and manifest the wretchedness of this once flourishing 
metropolis. It is fallen indeed ; but on the projected 
canal we may evidently read Resurgam." -f* 

* The foundations and lower part of the walls are of hewn 
stone : the rest of the building is literally of mud, which, however, 
owing either to its nature or the climate, hardens with time till it 
becomes as solid as stone. We presume that it is made of earth 
and lime, tapia real. 

t Among the other treasures of Valladolid, Laborde mentions a 
fine piece of sculpture in the church of San Pablo, by Gregory 
Hernandez, representing a Dead Christ ; in the church of Las 
Angustias, a statue of the Virgin by the same artist ; also a groupe 
representing the Virgin with the dead body of our Lord in her 
arms, and the two thieves ; and in the church of the Carmelites, 
a statue of our Lord on Mount Carmel, of exquisite beauty, also 
by Hernandez. The house of the Inquisition is a large square 
building without ornament : over the gate is inscribed, Exurge 
Domine, etjudica causam tuam; " words," remarks the Catholic 
clergyman to whom we are indebted for some of our information 
respecting Valladolid, " in which its members might read their 
own condemnation, while they presumed to judge that cause for 

SPAIN. 139 

It has not yet risen, however ; nor has the canal, 
we believe, which was to be finished in thirty years, 
been completed. " It has been attempted," says 
Bourgoing, " within these few years, to rouse Valla- 
dolid from the state of lethargy into which it has 
fallen. A school for drawing and an academy of 
mathematics were established; several of the streets 
were improved by the establishment of a police, and 
its environs, by promenades and plantations of chestnut- 
trees. On coming out of the Campo Grande, where 
new alleys have lately been planted along the Pisuerga, 
there are two leagues of excellent road towards Madrid, 
and eight^ towards Palencia, through a naked country ; 
for the scarcity of wood which forced Philip III. to 
abandon Valladolid, has even increased since his 
time."* If the want of fuel was really the cause of 

* The scarcity of wood began at length to attract the attentien 
of the government in 1753; and an ordinance of the Council of 
Castile enjoined every inhabitant of the country to plant five trees. 
" In some places, however, malice, in others prejudice, particularly 
throughout Old Castile, dictated the insinuation that the trees 
attracted birds and other destroyers of grain ; trees which began to 
thrive were cut down by passengers, and others perished for want 
of care. Almost every where the ordinance was neglected. At 
length, towards the latter end of the reign of Charles III., recourse 
was had to the most efficacious of measures, that of example ; and 
already do a few orchards and clumps of trees interrupt the mono- 
tony of the horizon, enlivening with a little verdure the parched 
and naked soil of La Mancha and the two Castiles." BOURGOING, 
vol. i. p. 44. In the plain or campo extending between Valladolid 
and Villadrigo, a little lavender, two species of Jerusalem sage, and 
meadow-ragwort, are the only plants the country affords. " All 
the territory of Campos," adds Dillon, " is so bare and destitute of 
trees, that the inhabitants are obliged, for fuel, to burn vine- 
stocks, straw, dung, and the few aromatic shrubs they can find. 
Their kitchens are like stoves, and they sit round them on benches, 
giving to these wretched hovels the emphatic name of glorias. A 
solitary elm or walnut-tree now and then appears near a church, 
a sure sign that water is not far from the surface, and that its roots 

140 SPAIN. 

his deserting this city, in what a light does it place 
the administration of a country once covered with 
forests, and affording coal at no great distance from 
this ancient metropolis, to which it might easily be 
transported by a canal ! " Out of the town," adds 
this Traveller, " in spite of the fertility of a country 
adapted for every kind of culture, and abounding in 
rivers, all is nakedness and misery. Within the city, 
the same baneful want of industry is observable. The 
only manufactures which have an appearance of 
flourishing, are those of woollens. The goldsmiths 
and jewellers have acquired a deserved renown, and 
there are still a great number of them in one of the 
most frequented parts of the city, but they are not 
above mediocrity." 

The canal referred to by Mr. Townsend, was to 
begin at Segovia. " Quitting the Eresma, it crosses 
the Pisuerga near Valladolid, at the junction of that 
river with the Duero ; then, leaving Palencia with 
the Carrion to the right, till it has crossed that river 
below Herrera, it once more approaches the Pisuerga ; 
and near Herrera, twelve leagues from Reinosa, re- 
ceiving water from that river in its course, it arrives 
at Golmir, from whence, in less than a quarter of a 
league to Reinosa, there is a fall of 1000 Spanish 
feet. At Reinosa, is the communication with the 
canal of Aragon, which unites the Mediterranean to 
the Bay of Biscay ; and from Reinosa to the Suanzes, 
which is three leagues, there is a fall of 3000 feet. 
Above Palencia, is a branch going westward, through 
Beceril de Campos, Rio Seco, and Benevente, to 

have partaken of it. When this happens, independent of every 
vicissitude of climate, other trees would thrive in like manner, 
and the country might be rendered shady and pleasant instead of 
being the most desolate in Europe." Travels, p. 118. 

SPAIN. 141 

Zamora, making this canal of Castile, in its whole 
extent, one hundred and forty leagues." In 1786, 
they had already completed twenty leagues of it, from 
Reinosa to Rio Seco, " which, with twenty-four 
locks, three bridges for aqueducts, and one league and 
a half of open cast through a high mountain, had cost 
380,OOOJ. sterling ; about 4,3201. a mile."* The canal 
is nine feet deep, twenty feet wide at bottom, and 
fifty-six at top. When completed, " to say nothing 
of coals to be carried from the Asturias to the south, 
and of manufactures which might then be established 
in Castile, and find a ready market by the Bay of 
Biscay, the excellent wines of that sandy province, 
now scarcely paying for cultivation, would not only 
find a ready sale, but be held in the highest estima- 
tion ; the oils would fetch their price, both for the 
table and for soap ; and the corn which, in abundant 
seasons, proves the ruin of the farmer, would be a 
source of opulence, and stimulate his industry to fresh 
exertions. For want of such an outlet, provinces de- 
signed by nature to rejoice in plenty, and to furnish 
abundance for exportation, are often reduced to fa- 
mine, and obliged to purchase corn from the surround- 
ing nations." 

Valladolid is deemed highly salubrious, though often 

* Townsend, vol. i. pp. 367 369. Two thousand soldiers were 
employed on this magnificent undertaking, and as many peasants. 
They were paid " by the piece," the price varying according to 
the quality, the depth, and the distance. The qualities were dis- 
tinguished into sand, soft clay, hard clay, loose schist, hard schist, 
and solid rock of three kinds ; such as could be worked with pick 
and shovel, such as required wedges and sledges, and such as was 
worked by boring and blast. " When this canal is perfected," adds 
this Traveller, " which may be in less than thirty years, the world, 
perhaps, will have nothing to compare with it in point either of 
workmanship, of extent, or of utility." 

142 SPA1X. 

visited by fogs exhaled from the Duero and the " stag- 
nant waters" of the Esgueva. The country round 
the city, Mr. Townsend says, is a perfect garden, 
watered by norias. It produces excellent wine : there 
are a few olive-plantations, and the mulberry-tree has 
been cultivated with success. Madder is produced in 
some part of the environs, as well as near Burgos and 
Segovia ; also in the Asturias, Aragon, Catalonia, and 
the southern provinces. Bourgoing says, that it is 
superior to that of any other country, the climate 
being peculiarly favourable to it. A beautiful species 
of thyme, oak of Jerusalem (chenopodium botrys), and 
green wormwood cover the neighbouring plain. 

" The admirers of the fine arts go a league to the 
north of this city, to the nunnery of Fuensaldanca, to 
see three paintings by Rubens." Two of these are 
representations of Saints Francis and Anthony ; the 
third and principal one is the Assumption of the 
Virgin, which is considered by some connoisseurs as 
the finest and boldest production of that master.* All 
three were presented to this church by the Duke of 
Alba, who brought them from the Netherlands. 
Charles III., wishing to transfer them to the Escurial, 
offered to rebuild the nunnery on a larger scale, and 
with stone instead of tapia, and to double the revenues 
of the sisterhood, if they would part with these trea- 
sures. The reply given was, that his majesty might 
take, but they had it not in their power to give what 
he requested. They were consequently suffered to 
retain them in their possession. Half a league below 

* This picture has been described to us by the gentleman referred 
to in a preceding note, as a magnificent production. The number 
of figures is very great, and the angels in the foreground are 
of colossal size, their attitudes exceedingly fine and wonderfully 
varied. But nothing can exceed the ecstatic appearance of the 

SPAIN. 143 

Valladolid, on the other bank of the Pisuerga, is a 
superb monastery of the Geronimites (or Jeromites), 
containing a beautiful cloister by Herrera, embellished 
with paintings by Vicente. 

On leaving Valladolid for Burgos, the road for half 
a league leads through a noble avenue of mulberry- 
trees, with cross walks, which serves as a promenade. 
It then enters on the naked plain, crossing the 
Pisuerga at the village of Cabe?on, which has the 
reputation of producing the best wine in the province. 
The soil is clay mixed with sand ; the hills are of clay 
and marl. There is a great scarcity of wood ; yet, 
the country, in Swinburne's opinion, wears a much 
more cheerful appearance than any part of New Cas- 
tile. " The number of small towns or villages," he 
says, " is considerable, and on most of the hills are 
seen ruined castles or towers. We travelled up the 
Pisuerga for many miles through a broad vale, bare of 
trees, but tolerably well cultivated, crossing and re- 
crossing the river several times ; the largest bridge is 
near Torquemada, of twenty-two arches. The houses 
hereabouts are built of sun-dried bricks. The next 
day we came to a much more agreeable country, better 
wooded, and more thronged with habitations. On every 
steeple we saw one or two storks' nests : these birds 
seem to be held in the same veneration here as in the 
Low Countries." The Pisuerga is crossed for the last 

Virgin, who is fixing her eyes on her Divine Son in the clouds. 
The picture is sadly disfigured, however, to a Protestant, by a 
representation of the Eternal Father, " with locks as white as 
snow, throned, and leaning on a sceptre," while above is seen " the 
Mystic Dove." The colouring is particularly splendid. The 
upper part of the picture, which was square, not fitting the semi- 
circular dome, has been rounded off, part df the sky, and whole 
grcupes of angels in the distance being cut away by the Gothic 

K 2 

144 SPAIN. 

time at Quintana de la Puente, which takes its name 
from a stone bridge of eighteen arches. The road 
then crosses two rugged acclivities, the bases of which 
are washed by that river flowing from N. to S.,* and 
then descends to Villadrigo, a miserable village, though 
agreeably situated on the right bank of the river 
Arlan9on, which is not lost sight of during the rest 
of the way to Burgos. The approach to that city, up 
a long valley, chiefly corn land, is rather pleasing. 
The castle, the ancient broken walls sloping down 
from it, and the cathedral a little below, form a very 
picturesque termination of the prospect. The distance 
from Valladolid to Burgos is 22 leagues, and 42 from 


THE capital of Old Castile, is pleasantly situated on 
the right bank of the Arlanfon, at the foot of an 
eminence, upon which an old castle displays its ruins, 
once the abode of the counts, and afterwards of the 
kings of Castile. The origin of the city cannot be 
traced with any certainty higher than the ninth cen- 
tury. It is built in a very irregular manner on the 
declivity, with narrow, crooked, uneven streets, and 
is surrounded with high walls. " Formerly," says 
Bourgoing, " this city was remarkable for its riches, 
industry, and commerce : it now presents the perfect 

According to Laborde, the Arlan?on (the Burgos river) is 
joined by the Arlanza at the venta del Moral, a little below Villa- 
drigo ; and at Magaz, half way between Terquemada and Duenas, 
it receives the Carrion. Bourgoing places the confluence of the Ar- 
lanza and the Arlanpon at Magaz ; a little further on, he says, these 
two rivers are united to the Pisuerga, and then to the Carrion. It 
is the junction of these four rivers which, under the continued 
name of Pisuerga, skirts Valladolid, before falling into the Duero 

SPAIN. 145 

image of poverty, idleness, and depopulation. It does 
not contain more than 10,000 inhabitants; (in its 
prosperity, it contained four times that number ; ) 
" and its only branch of trade is now confined to the 
carriage of wool, which is sent off for embarkation at 
the northern ports. Its manufactures, if we except 
that of leather, scarcely deserve mention. The mag- 
nificence of the cathedral forms a disgusting contrast 
with the rubbish that surrounds it. This imposing 
and well-preserved edifice is a chef-d'oeuvre of elegance. 
It is almost opposite one of the three bridges which 
cross the Arlanc/m. One of its chapels contains a 
picture by Michael Angelo, representing the Virgin 
clothing the infant Jesus, who is standing erect upon 
a table. We recognise the air of nobleness and gran- 
deur which that master knew how to give to his 
figures, with that vigour and correctness of design 
to which he sometimes sacrificed the graces. Mr. 
Swinburne thus speaks of this fine edifice. 

"The cathedral is one of the most magnificent 
structures of the Gothic kind now existing in Europe. 
But, though it rises very high, and is seen at a great 
distance, its situation, in a hole cut out of the side of 
the hill, is a great disadvantage to its general effect. 
Its form is exactly the same as that of York minster. 
At the western or principal front, are two steeples 
ending in Opines; and on the centre of the edifice 
rises a large square tower, adorned with eight pin- 
nacles. On one side of the east end is a lower octagon 
building, with eight pyramids, corresponding exactly 
to the chapter-house at York. We were struck with 
the resemblance between these buildings. Both were 
embellished with a profusion of statues; but, while 
most of those at York were destroyed in the first 
emotions of iconoclastic zeal, those at Burgos are still 

146 SPAIN. 

in full possession of the homage of the country, and 
are consequently entire. Several of them are much 
more delicate than one would expect, considering the 
age in which they were sculptured. Santiago, the 
patron of this cathedral, stands very conspicuous on 
his war-horse among the needles of the main steeple ; 
and the Virgin Mary is seated in solemn state over 
the great window of the west porch. The foliage- 
work, arches, pillars, and battlements, are executed in 
the most elaborate and finished manner of that style 
which has been usually called Gothic." 

The church of San Pablo is also, according to 
Laborde, "a noble Gothic structure." The high 
altar is decorated with a groupe of figures, the size of 
life, representing the conversion of St. Paul. The 
Augustinian convent in the suburbs, near the gate of 
Santa Maria, is without any pretensions to architec- 
tural beauty, but has acquired both wealth and fame 
from the possession of a crucifix to which are attri- 
buted miraculous virtues. The figure is an exact 
outline of the human body, enveloped from the waist 
downwards in a kind of petticoat, full plaited, of the 
finest cloth. The tradition is, that it was made by 
Nicodemus; and it is the subject of many marvellous 
legends, which are always acceptable to vulgar credu- 
lity. All around it are seen the rich offerings of 
private individuals, distinguished nobles, and munifi- 
cent kings. Some of these gifts are of silver, others 
of gold, and not a few are enriched with precious 
jewels. The front of the altar, the steps, and the 
balustrades, are all of silver, as are also the sixty 
chandeliers, each five feet high, and of proportionate 
bulk, ranged on the ground immediately below the 
altar. Of the same precious metal are those standing 
on the altar, intermixed with silver crowns and 

SPAIN. 147 

crosses, emblazoned with precious stones. Eighty 
silver lamps, of a magnificent size, are suspended 
from the vaulted roof. The walls are hung with cloth 
of gold, but it is almost black with the smoke of 
lamps and incense. 

Burgos was originally an episcopal see : it was 
erected into an archbishopric in 1574. It is a very 
extensive diocese, including 693 parishes. The city, 
though scarcely a vestige remains of its ancient 
splendour, still claims precedence in rank of all other 
cities in the two Castiles, Toledo alone disputing this 
point of punctilio. Burgos was the birth-place of two 
of the most celebrated military heroes of Spanish 
history; Ferdinand Gonzales, the first count of 
Castile, and the Cid Campeador.* In the reign of 

* " Lusitania," says the canon in Don Quixote, " had a 
Viriatus, Rome a Caesar, Carthage a Hannibal, Greece an Alex- 
ander, Castile a Count Fernan Gonzales, Valencia a Cid, Andalu- 
sia a Gonzalo Fernandez, Estremadura a Diego Garcia de Peredez, 
Xeres a Garcia Perez de Vargas, Toledo a Garcilasso, and Seville 
a Don Manuel de Leon." Don Garcia Perez de Vargas (called in 
the first volume of Don Quixote, Diego Perez de Vargas) was sur- 
named Machuca (the pounder, or bruiser), because having one day 
broken his sword in the heat of an engagement, he tore up an oak, 
or at least a massy branch, and did wonderful execution on the 
Moors, smashing and grinding them as with a flail. He is the hero 
of many a ballad ; and mention has been made of him at page 2 of 
this volume, as the deliverer of Seville. The claim of Valencia to 
the Cid rests on his having won it from the Moors (see vol. i. p. 143), 
in consequence of which it for some time bore his name. There is 
a whole body of ballads concerning Fernan Gonzales, under whose 
name, in the tenth century, Castile first became a powerful and in- 
dependent state. Dr. Southey's delightful " Chronicle of the Cid" 
has made Ruy Diaz still more familiar to the English reader ; and 
" The Cid's Wedding" is the subject of one of the spirited ballads 
from the Spanish, by the editor of Don Quixote, in which there is 
an allusion to customs which still exist. 

" Within his hall of Burgos, the king prepares a feast ; 
He makes his preparation foi many a noble guest 

148 SPAIN. 

Charles the Fifth, a triumphal arch in very good 
taste was erected in memory of the former; and 
more recently, Burgos has paid a similar tribute to 
the memory of the Cid, by raising a monument upon 
the spot where his house is supposed to have stood. 
In the centre of the new plaza, which is surrounded 
with uniform houses, but small and paltry in their 
appearance, is a bronze statue of Charles III., " badly 
designed and worse executed," and not otherwise 
remarkable than as being almost the only monument 
of the kind the only one erected in honour of a 
Spanish sovereign in the kingdom. The envi- 
rons of Burgos are fertilised and embellished by the 
waters of the Arlan9on, which meanders through 
luxuriant meadows, and has to boast of three very 
fine stone bridges within half a league of each other. 
A little below the city, it washes the walls of a 
famous nunnery called Las Huelgas, one of the most 
richly endowed in Spain. The nuns, Swinburne 
says, are all noble ; and the abbess is almost a sove- 
reign princess by the extent of her territories, the 
number of her prerogatives, and the variety of her 
jurisdictions. The convent is not a shewy building, 
and the situation is low and unpleasant. At the 
distance of half a league south-east of the city, is the 

It is a joyful city, it is a gallant day ; 

"Tis the Campeador's wedding, and who will bide away ? 
" The king had given order that they should rear an arch, 

From house to house all over, in the way where they must march ; 

They have hung it all with lances, and shields, and glittering 

Brought by the Campeador from out the Moorish realms. 
" They have scatter'd olive-branches and rushes on the street, 

And the ladies fling down garlands at the Campeador's feet ; 

With tapestry and broidery their balconies between, 

To do his bridal honour, their walls their burghers screen " &'c. 

SPAIN. 149 

Carthusian monastery of Mirqflores, in the church of 
which are the magnificent tombs of King Juan II. 
and his consort, and Don Juan their son. The choir 
and chapter-house are decorated with some ancient 
paintings. In the environs of .Burgos, there are 
trees enough to serve as ornamental avenues and 
promenades ; but there is a great scarcity of fuel, and 
this is one of the oldest countries in Spain. 

From Burgos, the road to Bayonne leads over the 
lofty Sierra del Oca into the valley of Ebro, and 
by Vittoria and Tolosa to St. Jean de Luz. Before 
we proceed further northward, however, we shall 
throw together some general remarks on the two 
Castiles, -and then avail ourselves of Mr. Townsend's 
account of the kingdom of Leon, with which that of 
Castile was so closely identified. 

Old Castile, which may be considered as the cradle 
of the Spanish monarchy, forms an irregular triangle, 
the base of which, extending from the Asturias to 
Estremadura, is fifty-nine leagues in length, and its 
diameter from east to west, forty-three leagues. Its 
eastern point borders on Aragon; the river Ebro 
separates it on the north and north-east from Navarre ; 
the Sierra d'Oca divides it on the north and north- 
west from the Asturias ; Leon joins it on the west ; 
and on the south it is bounded by New Castile. It 
presents a succession of plains, surrounded and inter- 
sected with lofty mountains, and copiously supplied 
with streams. Mineral springs, both hot and cold, 
are numerous.* Many of the mountains yield deli- 
cious pasture to immense herds of cows, especially the 
mountains of Santander and of Reynora, which 

* The most celebrated are at Banos, near Bejar ; at Barco de 
Avila ; and at Arnedillo. 

150 SPAIN. 

extend northward of Burgos to the Bay of Biscay. 
Innumerable flocks of sheep also winter in the plains, 
and during summer browse on the mountains. The 
soil is for the most part extremely fertile. In many 
parts, water is found at a few feet below the surface, 
so that, notwithstanding the heat of the climate and 
the dryness of the atmosphere, the crops seldom fail. 
The wheat and barley are of excellent quality; and 
some districts (especially the Burela and the Rioja) 
abound in luxuriant orchards and vineyards. The 
plains are, for the most part, bare, owing to the 
invincible antipathy of the Castilian husbandmen to 
plantations, and large tracts are suffered to remain an 
unprofitable waste; but this province might be ren- 
dered one of the most delightful and productive in the 
Peninsula. Such has been the depressing effect, 
however, of the withdrawment of the court and the 
decline of the manufactures, that the existing popula- 
tion, at the beginning of the present century, was 
estimated at less than 1,200,000 souls.* In the short 
space of fifty years, Laborde says, this province had 
lost one half of its former inhabitants. Old Castile 
once held the first rank in Spain for the diversity and 
extent of its manufactures ; and the woollens of 
Segovia, Avila, and Medina del Campo were in 
request throughout the Continent. It now ranks as 
the last and lowest province both in manufactures and 
commerce. All the towns are in a state of decay. 
Some good roads have been made in particular dis- 
tricts; but the cross roads are precisely what they 
were four centuries back, and are scarcely passable 
on horseback. The only mode of conveyance is on 

In this estimate were included 146,000 nobles ; 14,580 eccle- 
siastics, secular and regular ; 3,210 nuns; 5,760 students; 1,865 
writers and advocates ; and 37,183 domestics. 

SPA1X. 151 

mules. Besides Burgos, the capital, Old Castile con- 
tains seven episcopal cities, namely, Valladolid, Segovia, 
Calahorra (the birth-place of Quintilian), Soria, Osma, 
Siguenza, and Avila; 4,555 parishes, 390 religious 
houses, and three universities. 

New Castile, comprehending the greater part of the 
ancient Celtiberia, is one of the largest provinces of 
Spain, being, exclusive of La Mancha, 56 leagues 
from N. to S. and 49 from E. to W., having Old 
Castile on the N., Aragon and Valencia on the E., 
Jaen and Cordova on the S., and Estremadura on the 
W. The principal towns, besides Toledo and Madrid, 
which have already been described, are, Cuen9a, an 
episcopal city; Alcala de Henarez and Guadalaxara 
in the Alcana; Talavera de la Reyva; and Re- 
quena. The last three cities, Laborde says, sub- 
sist by their manufactures, Alcala, by its university, 
Toledo, by the clergy, and Madrid, by the court. 
The remarks made respecting Old Castile will apply 
with almost equal correctness to this province. Its 
general aspect is that of poverty and depopulation. 
Laborde states, that there are no fewer than 195 
chapels, which perpetuate the names of hamlets that 
have long been left without an inhabitant. In 1787-8, 
New Castile contained 1,301 parishes, 375 religious 
houses, two universities, fifty colleges, and 940,650 

The Sierra de Cuen9a, which runs between New 
Castile and Valencia, is considered as the most 
elevated land in Spain.f It is a mountainous district, 

* Including 12,687 nobles; 11, 400 ecclesiastics; 2,845 nuns; 
2,859 students: 2,120 writers and advocates; and 46,742 do- 

t Mr. Townsend speaks of Daroca in Aragon as standing on the 

152 SPAIN. 

affording excellent pastures, and diversified by exten- 
sive vales. Cuenca (Concha), the capital, is built on 
a very steep acclivity, between two lofty mountains, 
and is divided by two narrow chasms, into which are 
precipitated the rivers Huecar and Xucar. There is 
a bridge over the former, the central piers of which 
rise 150 feet from the channel of the river; it is 
nearly 400 feet in length. The city contains thirteen 
parishes, six monasteries, six nunneries, and about 
6,000 inhabitants. The cathedral is spacious, but 
very plain : it was founded by Alphonso IX. The 
city contains nothing of any interest. It is about 32 
leagues east of Madrid, and 23 west of Requena, the 
frontier town towards Valencia, containing about 6,000 
inhabitants : this town is well built, and stands in the 
midst of a very fertile district lying between the 
Gabriel and the Guadalaviar, and watered by nume- 
rous smaller streams which ultimately join the 

The routes from Madrid to Oviedo, to Corunna, to 
Lisbon, and to Bayonne, will complete our survey of 
this interesting country. 

highest land. " We are here," he says, " on the highest land iu 
Spain, with the water falling behind us into the Ebro, while im- 
mediately before us it runs into the Tagus." 

* The mountains of Cuenfa invite the researches of the geo- 
logist. Laborde mentions several large caverns. One called Cueva 
de los Griegos (Cave of the Greeks), or Belvalle, near Masegosa, is 
forty feet in height and of unknown depth, and contains some re- 
markable stalactites. Not far off is the Cueva del Hierro (Iron 
Cave), supposed to be the remains of a mine: within it are several 
galleries and a fountain of fresh water. TheCwmz de Pedro Cotillas 
is also supposed to have been a mine : it communicates with the 
summit of a mountain near Cuenfa, and contains some remarkable 
stalactites. Mineral springs are found in the sierra in various 
places. Another spacious cavern, called Cueva de las Judias, is 
found near Bonaco. 

SPAIN. 153 


THAT tract of country which lies on the left in 
going from Segovia to Burgos, is a deserted district, 
rarely visited by modern travellers. In this route, 
however, two cities occur, which are deserving of 
notice, were it only for the contrast they present to 
their ancient prosperity. These are the two Medinas, 
distinguished by the adjuncts, de Rio Seco and del 
Campo. Mr. Townsend, whom we are now to follow, 
travelled from Madrid to Oviedo in July 1786. At 
the end of about seven leagues, (a ten hours' journey,) 
he began to ascend the Guadarama mountains ; and, 
in two leagues more, having passed the Puerto, 
reached a venta on the northern declivity. The next 
day, he passed through Villacastin, and at the end of 
seven Spanish leagues, (or, as he imagined, above 
thirty-five miles,) arrived at San Chidrian. He now 
entered on a vast plain of granite sand, very coarse, 
loose, and unprofitable, but which would evidently 
bear good elm and fir ; and passing through Adinaro 
and two other villages, arrived at Aribalo (Arevalo), 
" a considerable city with nine parish-churches, eight 
convents, two hospitals, two royal granaries, forty-two 
priests, and sixteen hundred houses." The same 
sandy campo extends to the Adaja, which he crossed, 
and at three leagues from Aribalo, reached Ataquines, 
a miserable city of cottages, two hundred and seventy 
in number. Three leagues further over the plain 
brought him to Medina del Campo, in the kingdom of 

This ancient town (to which Laborde assigns the 
classic name of Methymna Campestris) was formerly 
the residence and the birth-place of several monarchs, 

154 SPAIN. 

and is invested with peculiar privileges. It is free 
from afll taxes, and its inhabitants enjoy other immu- 
nities. Cardinal Ximenes made it one of his principal 
magazines for the military stores collected with a 
view to curb the great nobility ; but when, in 1520, 
the commons of Castile sought redress of grievances, 
they seized this magazine, and defended the town 
with such obstinacy, that Fonseca was obliged to 
retire and leave them in quiet possession of the ruins. 
It is said to have contained at one time 14,000 families. 
Nine parish-churches, with seventy priests, seventeen 
convents, and two hospitals, still remained, in 1780, to 
attest its former importance, but there were not above 
a thousand houses left, and these were all of brick, 
irregular and low. The collegiate church, built of 
brick. " is much and deservedly admired for its roof." 
" Its celebrated fairs, its commerce as the great depot 
for the cloths of Segovia, the beauty of its edifices, the 
neatness of its streets, all these," says Bourgoing, 
" have ceased to exist, except in the annals of history. 
Next to the churches, which the opulent and the 
slothful so largely contribute to keep in repair, the 
finest edifice of Medina del Campo is the shambles. 
Philip III., whose extravagant enterprises contributed 
so much to the degeneracy of Spain, has left this city 
at least a monument of his good- will." The Zapar- 
diel, a little river or torrent which falls into the 
Duero between Toro and Tordesillas, divides the 
town into two parts. The surrounding country is 
naturally fertile ; and it is evident, says Mr. Town- 
send, that the elm, the poplar, the mulberry, the 
vine, and the olive would flourish here. 

Instead of pursuing the direct road to Tordesillas, 
distant four leagues, Mr. Townsend turned off through 
Valdestillas, over an undulating country, rich in corn 

SPAIN. 155 

and wine, to Valladolid. Tordesillas (Torre-de-Sillas, 
Turris Sillce), situated on the right bank of the 
Duero, six leagues to the west of Valladolid, was built 
in the time of the kings of Leon, and is styled by 
Laborde, ancient, handsome, and agreeable ; it con- 
tains six parishes, one monastery, two nunneries, and 
a population of 4,000 persons. A little higher up the 
river, near where it receives the Pisuerga, stands the 
town of Simancas, where the archives of the monarchy 
were deposited by Philip II., and where, we believe, 
they still remain. 

From Valladolid, Mr. Townsend ascended a lime- 
stone hill to the elevated plain on which, at the dis- 
tance of between seven and eight leagues, stands Medina 
de Rio Seco. This city, once celebrated for its manufac- 
tures, and surnamed, for the opulence it derived from 
its fairs, India Chica (the Little Indies), is now 
reduced from a population of about 30,000 souls or 
7,000 houses, to about 1,400 houses, and between 8 
and 9,000 souls. There are three parish-churches, 
four monasteries, and three nunneries. " The 
churches are all good : that of S. Maria is elegant, 
with a lofty roof highly finished, and supported by 
well-proportioned pillars; the custodia is solid silver, 
and weighs more than a hundred weight." Of the 
castle, which sustained an unsuccessful siege from 
Henry of Transtamare in his war against Don Pedro 
the Cruel, the ruins alone remain. In 1786, the 
trade of Rio Seco was rather on the increase, and the 
manufactures of serge had begun to revive, owing to 
the influence of the canal. " From hence to Man- 
silla," proceeds Mr. Townsend, " a distance of eleven 
leagues and a half, the country is all level, open, rich, 
and productive of both corn and wine, abounding in 
villages, and occupied by husbandmen. The route we 

156 SPAIN. 

took was through Cedinos, Vecilla, Alvires, Matal- 
lana, and Santas Martas. The first of these includes 
a hundred mud-wall cottages and two churches; 
Vecilla, one hundred and sixty such miserable 'habita- 
tions, with two churches. Mayorga has now only 
650 such cottages ; and although formerly it numbered 
17,000, no traces of these remain : it is divided into 
eight parishes, and contains three convents, and one 
hospital. Alvires is wretched ; Matallana still more 
so, Santas Martas but little better; and Mansilla 
has no room to boast. All are equally of mud-wall, 
and are mouldering away. Mansilla was once fortified, 
as may be seen by the round towers still remaining. 
It contains 400 families, one convent, and one her- 
mitage. From Mansilla, the face of the country 
changes. On crossing the Ezla, we find meadows, 
enclosures, and a variety of trees, chiefly poplars, elms, 
and walnuts. Then, passing among hills composed of 
sand, clay, and gravel, rounded by fluctuating waters, 
we fall down upon a rich valley, at the head of which 
stands Leon, protected by high mountains from the 


WHICH once gave its name to an independent 
kingdom and a line of sovereigns, contained, in 1786, 
a population of only 1,500 families, with 6,170 souls, 
distributed in thirteen parishes, and 420 priests. 
Besides the cathedral, there are two royal foundations 
of San Isidro and San Marcos, nine convents, a beaterio, 
and a few hermitages and hospitals. " The cathedral," 
Mr. Townsend says, "is deservedly admired for its 
lightness and elegance. It is a Gothic structure, with a 
lofty spire, highly finished, not only with basso-relievo 
ornaments, but with open-work, transmitting light, 

SPAIN. 157 

resembling the finest point lace or filigree. The 
windows are all of painted glass. In the sacristy is a 
silver crucifix, with its canopy supported by four 
Corinthian pillars, nearly seven feet high, the whole 
of silver. The silver mount on which it stands, is 
divided into compartments, each exhibiting some 
representation of the Passion, in basso-relievo. The 
custodia is more than six feet high, of silver elegantly 
wrought. The bishop's revenue is about 3,300J. 
sterling. The canons are forty, including always 
the king and the counts of Altamira. The Casa 
Real de San Isidro has sixteen canons regular of 
St. Augustine. In their church are deposited the 
bones of the patron saint in a large silver urn, and 
the bones of all the kings of Leon, from Alphonzo IV., 
surnamed the monk, to Bermudo III., the last king of 
Leon ; together with the ashes of Ferdinand I., in 
whom the crowns of Castile and Leon were first 
united, and who died in the year 1067. Their 
library contains many valuable manuscripts. The 
Casa Real de San Marcos has a prior and sixteen 
canons, supported by a revenue of about 8,790J. per 
annum. The front of this religious house merits 
particular attention. Various pieces of sculpture in 
basso-relievo are elegant and highly finished. Two of 
these represent the Crucifixion and the Taking Down 
from the Cross But one of the most striking figures, 
with respect to design, execution, and expression, is 
San Jago on horseback. All the churches in this city, 
like those of Aragon, are crowded with pillars, and 
these pillars are nearly hid with most preposterous 
ornaments, such as vines, cherubs, angels, and birds, 
covered entirely with gold. 

" Leon, destitute of commerce, is supported by the 
church. Beggars abound in every street, fed by the 

158 SPAIN. 

convents, and at the bishop's palace. The surrounding 
country is bold and beautiful, but ill cultivated. It is 
watered by the Torio and the Vernesga, two little 
streams which unite below the city (and form the 
Ezla). In summer they are brooks, in winter tor- 
rents. With the rolling stones hurried down from 
the mountains by the impetuous raging of these 
torrents, on the sudden melting of the winter's snow, 
a considerable part of the wall is built, forming a 
valuable collection for the naturalist : among these 
are found limestone, schist, and grit.* The best 
marble is brought from Nozedo, Robles, and Lillo ; 
the former two distant five, the latter, eleven leagues 
from Leon." 

This city is said to have been founded prior to the 
reign of Galba. It was called by the Romans Legio 
Septima Germanica, from the Legion stationed there. 
It was the first town of importance recovered from 
the Moors, after which it continued to be for three 
centuries the residence of the Christian kings. The 
ancient palace is still to be seen ; it has been converted 
into a cloth manufactory, now in a state of decay. 
The episcopal see is one of the most ancient in Spain : 
the bishop is suffragan to Compostella, but without 
being dependent on his jurisdiction. Laborde speaks 
of handsome squares and fountains in this city, but 
complains of its being detestably filthy. A hetero- 
geneous asgemblage of dirty streets filled with beggars, 
splendid churches, and half- ruined family mansions, 
forms, in fact, all that remains of the famous city of 
Leon. Thus, every where in Spain, the church has 
absorbed the wealth of the country ; and its pompous 
edifices tower, as if in mockery, over dismantled 

* Laborde says, that a great part of the walls is of green marble. 

SPAIN. 159 

castles, ruined palaces, decayed manufactories, and 
streets silent and depopulated. This city is 174 miles 
(56f posting leagues) N.N.W. of Madrid. 

The kingdom of Leon (for so it is still called) forms 
a long irregular rectangle, about 200 miles in length 
from N. to S., and its mean breadth from E. to W. 
about 170. It is surrounded by Asturias and Galicia, 
Old Castile, Estremadura, and Portugal. The Duero 
(or Douro) divides it into two nearly equal parts, 
besides which it is watered by numerous streams, 
which ultimately fall into that river. Among these 
are the Carrion, the Eresma, the Tormes or Rio de 
Salamanca, the Ezla, and the Pisuerga. It contains 
six bishoprics ; four to the north of the Duero, Leon, 
Palencia, Astorga, and Zamora ; and two in the 
southern part, Salamanca and Ciudad Rodrigo. 
Besides these, the chief places are Toro, Carrion de 
los Condes, Medina del Rio Seco, Tordesillas, and 
Benevente in the northern part ; and south of the 
Duero, Medina del Campo and Alba de Tormes. The 
province is divided into four intendancies, - Leon, 
Salamanca, Toro, and Palencia,* in which were in- 
cluded, according to the census of 1788, 2,460 parish- 
churches, 196 convents, and 665,000 inhabitants: of 
these, 31,500 were nobles, 5,600 secular priests, 2,064 

* The manner in which the military, judicial, financial, and 
ecclesiastical subdivisions cross each other in Spain, has led to much 
confusion. Zamora, though in the kingdom of Leon, has been for 
a long time the seat of the military government of Old Castile. In 
the map prefixed to Reichard's Itinerary, the province of Valladolid 
is made to stretch across Leon to Galicia ; and we find it enume- 
rated in some geographical works as a province of Leon, though 
the city of Valladolid is in Old Castile. The census of 1788, how- 
ever, notices only the four intendancies of Leon, Palencia, Toro, 
and Salamanca, and we have adhered to this arrangement. 


160 SPAIN. 

monks, 1,570 nuns, and 25,200 servants.* The 
towns (539 in number) are, Laborde says, half unin- 
habited, and there are no fewer than seventy-six 
deserted villages ! 

There is another route from Valladolid to Leon, by 
way of Palencia, towards which there has been made a 
new road of eight leagues. Palencia is eight leagues 
from Rio Seco, forty-five leagues from Madrid, and 
twenty-one from Leon. It is situated in a fertile ter- 
ritory, called Tierra de Campos, on the banks of the 
Carrion, near the borders of Old Castile. Its bishop 
is suffragan to Burgos. At the beginning of the 
thirteenth century, this city was honoured by being 
made the seat of the first university founded in Spain 
subsequently to the Moorish invasion; but, in 1239, 
it was removed to Salamanca. Besides the cathedral, 
there are four churches, eleven convents, two hospitals, 
and between 8 and 9,000 inhabitants, who are partly 
employed in manufacturing blankets, serge, and 
leather. Most of the edifices are said to be in the 
Gothic style : the most remarkable is the church of San 
Antolin, founded by King Sancho. Seven leagues 
over a level countryf lead from this city to Carrion 
de los Condes, situated on the river of that name, in a 
fertile plain. This town was formerly strong, and is 
said to have contained at one time 12,000 inhabitants : 
it is now reduced to a very small population, although 
there are nine parish-churches, three monasteries, and 
nine nunneries. The counts of Carrion are often 

* According to the usual reckoning of four to a family, tnls 
would make the nobles amount to not quite a fifth, and the eccle- 
siastics to 1 in 22 of the adult male population ! 

t Between four and five leagues from Palencia, the road crosses 
the canal of Campos. 

SPAIN. 161 

mentioned as acting a distinguished part in the 
chronicles of Spain. Two roads now lead to Leon; 
one through the town of Saldagna, running along 
mountains: the other proceeds six leagues to Sahagun, 
situated in a plain on the eastern bank of the river 
Cea or Saha, which falls into the Ezla. The remains 
of its ancient walls, and a castle, attest its former 
importance ; and there is a royal abbey of the Bene- 
dictine order, of high antiquity, with a magnificent 
church ; also, a Benedictine nunnery and a monastery 
of Franciscans. The population is stated by Laborde 
at 4,000. From this town it is eight leagues to 

To resume Mr. Townsend's route to Oviedo. 
From Leon, our Traveller ascended the valley of the 
Vernesga towards the mountains, and at the end of 
seven hours reached the village of Terras de las 
Duenas, where there is a nunnery. The next day, 
descending with the Luna, a little trout stream, the 
road wound through the gorges of schistous moun- 
tains, capped with marble, bare and rugged, often 
rising perpendicularly to the height of three or four 
hundred feet, and sometimes overhanging. In every 
little opening of the mountains, wherever a valley 
spreads wide enough to afford pasture for some cows, 
is found a village of from ten to twenty houses ; " their 
numbers always bearing a proportion to the quantity 
of food." Flocks of goats here indicate the nature of 
the adjacent country. Some of these little villages 
are most romantically situated. That of Truovana, 
consisting of twenty-two miserable cottages belonging 
to the monks of the Escurial, is situated in a small 
plain, well wooded, well watered, and shut in by high 
mountains of marble, whose bare and rugged cliffs 
form a striking contrast with the rich verdure of the 

162 SPAIN. 

meadows and corn-lands, and the smooth surface of 
the river which glides by the village. The elm, the 
poplar, the ash, and the wild barberry, are the indi- 
genous productions of the soil. The fathers have 
here a farm-house, with a little mill, whose horizontal 
wheel is working day and night during the summer, 
to provide bread for two hundred shepherds who have 
the charge of their flocks, consisting of about 28,000 
sheep, which in the summer feed on these mountains, 
travelling southward in the winter. " The oven is 
never cold, baking bread in the morning for the 
shepherds, and in the evening for the dogs." The 
shepherd-dogs are large and strong, well qualified to 
engage the wolves, who abound in these elevated 
regions, for which purpose they are armed with spiked 
collars. At Piedrafita, a little village of forty-six 
houses, Mr. Townsend was amused at seeing the 
women churning as they walked or stood chatting, by 
shaking the cream in a leather bag till the butter was 
completely formed. Snow still remained undissolved 
on these mountains on the 3d of August, not far from 
luxuriant crops of corn ready for the sickle. The 
basis of all the mountains is schist, every where 
covered with limestone, chiefly blue ; the strata run- 
ning in every variety of direction, and the rocks are 
" wonderfully rent." At the Puerto de Somiedo, 
where the waters part, are a few miserable cottages, 
which give name to the pass. Here, " ingulfed by 
stupendous rocks," the traveller begins to descend by 
a deep ravine into Asturias; and, as the country 
opens to the north, looks down upon mountains 
beyond mountains, resembling in their appearance 
the ocean vexed with a furious storm. Immediately 
before him, the little village of Gua looks as if about 
to be swallowed up by the impending rocks, which are 

SPAIN. 163 

magnificent beyond description. Lower down, the 
little hamlet called La Pola de Somiedo occupies a 
small eminence surrounded by about fourscore acres 
of well-watered meadow, and shut in by limestone 
rocks of stupendous height, some naked and almost 
perpendicular, others covered with hanging woods ; 
the whole scene, with the little river, the goats leaping 
from rock to rock, and the cattle feeding peaceably 
below, is in the highest degree picturesque. In this 
charming village, however, neither bread, nor eggs, 
nor wine could be procured : both wine and meat are 
delicacies which the inhabitants seldom taste. The 
ravine through which the little river holds its course, 
alternately widens and contracts, being sometimes not 
more than two yards across, and never more than 600 
feet; sometimes sloping, and leaving a few acres foi 
cultivation, at other times steep and inaccessible 
except to goats ; often rugged and bare, but not un- 
frequently thickly covered with oak, ash, beech, 
filbert, walnut, and chesnut, and that even where 
they have apparently no soil in which to fix their 
roots. The rocks themselves are beautiful, more 
especially where the smooth white marble is almost 
concealed by foliage. Nearer to the water's edge, the 
plum-tree, the mulberry, and the fig, vary the scene, 
marking the vicinity to some village. The way 
among the rocks is wild beyond all imagination, some- 
times in the bottom and by the river's side, at other 
times climbing the steep ascent, or descending from 
the heights, beneath impending rocks on one hand, 
and on the brink of a precipice of two or three hun- 
dred feet on the other. Sometimes the river is pinched 
in between two rocks, and is out of sight; at other 
times a glimpse of it is caught sparkling among the 
branches of trees in the depth below; but, whether 
L 2 

164 SPAIN. 

visible or invisible, it is always heard roaring in the 
bottom. The track is in many places so narrow as to 
admit only of one mule ; and the apprehension of 
danger too often counterbalances the pleasure which 
would othenvise arise from the romantic scenery. 
About two leagues from Pola de Somiedo, the lime- 
stone disappears, and is succeded by a finely granu- 
lated sandstone and silicious pudding-stone. At San 
Andres de Aguera, four leagues from Piedrafita, 
the ravine expands into a valley, and admits of more 
extensive villages. This parish, which is esteemed 
the best living in the gift of the bishop of Oviedo, 
contained 150 families, consisting of 700 communi- 
cants, besides children under ten years of age, scat- 
tered in nine little villages, two in the valley, and 
seven on the mountains. The births average thirty, 
and the burials twenty-five in the year. Their 
industry is most striking. The higher lands are 
sown with wheat, the lower lands with maize : not a 
spot is left uncultivated. The limestone rock when 
burnt is their principal manure. The price of as 
much land as a pair of oxen can plough in a day, 
about half an acre, is worth 111. sterling per year; 
and this, they reckon, should yield afanega of wheat, 
or 56 Ib. of bread, of 24 oz. to the pound. On the 
mountains, not only wolves, but bears and a species 
of tiger, are said to abound, and in winter they are 
all extremely ferocious : the shepherds are conse- 
quently obliged to drive their flocks into the villages 
by night. 

From Aguera, Mr. Townsend descended for three 
leagues by the side of the same rapid stream which he 
had traced from its origin near the summit of this 
vast range, to a romantic spot called Belmonte. Then, 
leaving the ravine, he turned eastward, and after 

SPAIN. 165 

ascending for an hour, reached the summit of a 
mountain, commanding a vast extent of pleasing 
country, resembling some of the richest English 
scenery. About the middle of the day, he reached the 
village of Grado, in the centre of a circular plain every 
where shut in by mountains. Thence, pursuing the 
course of a stream between high rocks, the track lay 
for some time through contracted valleys, and after- 
wards crossed several hills, till, about sunset, he 
reached the fertile plain at the head of which Oviedo 
is situated ; a journey which, if direct, would have 
been eighty-two leagues, but which the deviations 
from the track made more than ninety, or about 450 
miles from Madrid.* 

Oviedo, the capital of the Asturias, stands near the 
conflux of two little rivers, the Ovia and the Nora, 
which pour their united waters into the Bay of Biscay, 
near Villa Viciosa. It was built by Froila (or Fruela), 
the son of Alfonso I., surnamed El Catolico, in 757, 
and made the seat of his dominion. For a short 
period it enjoyed the honour of an archiepiscopal see, 
in the reign of Alfonso the Great; but this dignity 
was afterwards transferred to Santiago de Compostella, 
and Oviedo again became a simple bishopric. In 1786, 
this city contained 1,560 families (including 5,895 
communicants and 1,600 children under ten years 
old), and 7,495 souls. It has four parish-churches, 
eight chapels, three monasteries, three convents, three 
hospitals, and a university, founded in 1580. Mr. 

The expenses of this journey are thus given by Mr. Townsend : 
a calasine to Valladolid, 32 leagues ( 1 60 miles),reckoned at five days 
out, one for rest and four for return, with driver's fee, 284 reals. 
Ditto to Leon, for half a calash, 100 reals. A mule to Oviedo, five 
days and return, 120 reals. One third provisions from Madrid to 
Oviedo, (the proportion agreed on,) 272 reals. Total expense, 776 
reals 71. Hs. 6d. 

166 SPAIN. 

Townsend states the revenue of the bishopric at nearly 
6,600/., that of the chapter at 8,790/. That of the 
Benedictine nunnery, though the sisterhood consists 
of only fifty nuns, amounts to upwards of 2,OOOJ. a 
year. Their convent is of vast extent and elegant 
architecture. Two of the monasteries are Benedic- 
tine : in one of them is shewn the cell of the famous 
Father Feyjoo. The cathedral, said to have been 
founded in 760, is of freestone, and Laborde calls it 
Gothic and handsome ; Mr. Townsend, however, says 
nothing of its beauty, but only mentions the relics, in 
which the church of San Salvador is the richest in the 
world.* Here, it seems, when the Moors overran the 
rest of Spain, the holy treasures of the Peninsula were 
collected and safely deposited. Their extraordinary 
value will be seen from the following veritable his- 
tory. " Tradition says, that when Chosroes, King of 
Persia, pillaged Jerusalem, God, by his omnipotence, 
transported a chest of incorruptible wood, made by 
the immediate followers of the apostles, and filled with 
relics, from Jerusalem, by way of Africa, to Car- 
thagena, Seville, and Toledo, and from thence, with 
the Infant Don Pelayo, to the sacred mountain near 
Oviedo, and finally to the cathedral church of San 
Salvador. Upon its being opened, by the command of 
the sovereign Alfonso the Great, in the presence of 
assembled prelates, they found portions of all the fol- 
lowing articles : the rod of Moses ; the manna which 
fell from heaven ; the mantle of Elias ; the bones of 
the holy innocents ; the branch of olive which Christ 
bore in his hand when he entered Jerusalem ; great 
part of the true cross ; eight thorns of his crown ; the 

* Laborde speaks of the church of San Salvador, which contains 
these wonderful relics, as distinct from the cathedral ; but Mr. 
Townsend gives that dedicatory title to the cathedral itself. 

SPAIN. 167 

sanctisnimo sudario, or napkin stained with his blood ; 
the reed which he bore by way of sceptre ; his gar- 
ment ; his sepulchre ; the milk of the blessed Virgin ; 
the hood which she gave to S. Ildefonso, Archbishop 
in Toledo ; one of the three crucifixes carved by Nico- 
demus ; and a cross of the purest gold, made by angels 
in the cathedral.* ' Whosoever, called of God, shall 
visit these precious relics, shall obtain remission of 
one -third of the punishment due to his sins, with in- 
dulgence for a thousand and four years, and six qua- 
rantines,' &c., &c. Thus, at least, runs the promise 
in the name of the pope, and by authority of the 

" Soon after I had examined all these relics," adds 
Mr. Townsend, " the sanctissimo sudario, or sacred 
napkin, on which the Redeemer during his passion 
impressed his image, was exposed in the cathedral to 
eight or ten thousand peasants, collected from all the 
surrounding villages, most of whom had baskets full 
of cakes and bread which they elevated as high as 
possible the instant the curtain was withdrawn, in 
the full persuasion that these cakes, thus exposed, 
would acquire virtue to cure or to alleviate all diseases. 
Many lifted up their beads, and every one had some- 
thing or other to receive the divine energy, which he 
conceived to be constantly proceeding from the sacred 
image of his Lord. After a few minutes, one of the 
canons drew the curtain, and the multitude retired. 
A few days after my arrival, I was present at a grand 

Morales mentions several other relics of which the church of 
Oviedo boasted, but with the evidence for which he was not quite 
so well satisfied. Such were, a portion of Tobit's fish, and of 
Samson's honeycomb, a piece of Saint Bartholomew's skin, and 
the sole of St. Peter's shoe. See Notes to SOUTHEY'S Roderick, 
vol. ii. pp. 203223. 

168 SPAIN. 

procession of the bishop with his canons, attended by 
the principal inhabitants carrying torches, and pre- 
ceded by the ashes of Santa Eulalia, to implore rain 
from heaven. But this patroness of the diocese, deaf 
to their petitions, would not intercede for one re- 
freshing shower, and, in consequence, the maize was 
scorched up, and produced but little grain. Being at 
the time in blossom, it required daily showers to pre- 
vent the blight."* 

One of the hospitals is an hospicio for pilgrims, who 
repair hither from every quarter of the globe, in their 
way to Compostella. It is a miserable building, with 
numerous cells, where pilgrims are received and lodged 
for three nights. On their arrival at Oviedo, they 
present themselves before one particular altar, and 
receive every man ten quartos (about 3d). Should 
any pilgrim chance to die here, " he is buried with 
more pomp than the first nobleman of the province," 
his remains being attended to the grave by all the 
canons. The rage for pilgrimage had much abated 
when Mr. Townsend travelled ; but there were people 
then living, who remembered " when it was the 
fashion for all young men of spirit, both in Italy and 
France, before they married, to go as pilgrims to San 
Jago ; and it was still not uncommon to see straggling 
some few old men, and many companies of young 
ones, pursuing the same rout. " We met," he says, 
" twelve fine-made fellows from Navarre, singing the 
rosary, and hastening towards the next convent, where 
they expected to lodge and receive more money for 
the journey." 

The hospicio for the poor is both a general work- 
bouse, and a foundling hospital : it contained, at the 

Townsend, vol. ii. pp. 1821, 25. 

SPAIN. 169 

period referred to, 65 men, 55 boys, 90 women, and 
70 girls ; total, exclusive of infants at nurse, 280. To 
support this establishment, the funds were, 30,000 
ducats annually, raised by licenses to sell brandy in 
the Asturias, 3000 from rents, and other emoluments, 
making the total equal to 4000/. sterling; besides 
the produce of their labour, which was estimated at 
3QI. per annum, including what they make for their 
own consumption. The bishop, moreover, distributed 
seventy reals every morning at his gate, the canons 
scattered alms as they walked the streets, and the six 
convents administered bread and broth at noon to all 
applicants. When sick, the poor had a commodious 
hospital always ready to receive them. As to their 
children, the mother had only to take her infant to 
the hospital, " put it into a cradle, ring the bell, and 
then retire." As the natural consequence of this high 
bounty on pauperism, " beggars clothed in rags and 
covered with vermin, swarm in every street." * Spain 
may indeed be termed the paradise of monks and 

A few miles from Oviedo, are the hot springs of 
Rivera de Abajo ; they resemble those of Bath, Mr. 
Townsend says, both in temperature and taste, but 
have never been analysed. The situation of the baths 
is most enchanting, in a little valley shut in on all 

* Mr. Townsend took the liberty of asking the bishop, whether 
he did not think he was doing harm by the distribution of alms. 
" Most undoubtedly," said he: "but then it is the part of the 
magistrate to clear the streets of beggars : It is my duty to give 
alms to all that ask." This answer did him honour. The duty 
of alms-giving can never be superseded by either the supineness 
or the officiousness of the magistracy. Is it not to be regretted 
that the character of the Christian clergyman should ever be 
merged in that of the magistrate ? 

170 SPAIN. 

sides by limestone mountains, in the centre of which, 
on a little eminence, stands a castle with round towers, 
called San Juan de Priorio, with a church near it, and 
a beautiful back-ground of oaks and chesnuts. The 
elm, the ash, and the .poplar, are also found in this 

The principality of Asturias, the Wales of Spain, 
is classic ground to a Spaniard. Amid its mountain 
fastnesses, Pelayo (Pelagius) laid the foundations of 
the .Spanish monarchy. The Asturians lay claim to 
the proud distinction of having never been conquered, 
either by the Carthaginians, the Romans, the Goths, 
or the Moors ; their country being impenetrable to an 
invader, and, it may be added, not worth the cost of 
conquest. The chain of mountains which stretches 
east and west along the coast, separating the north of 
Galicia, Asturias, Biscay, and Guipuzcoa, from the 
rest of the Peninsula, has at all times been the 
nursery of a hardy race, who, under every change of 
dynasty, have maintained their independence, and, in 
some parts, retain the original language of their Can- 
tabrian ancestry. The name of this principality is of 
uncertain origin. Laborde states, that it is derived 
from a river which flows near the walls of Astorga, 
and falls into the Du x ero. * The principality is sub- 
divided into the Asturia of Oviedo and the Asturia of 
Santillana, and forms an irregular parallelogram, 

* Astorga once disputed with Oviedo the dignity of being the 
capital of Asturias, till it was decided that it belonged to the king- 
dom of Leon. Astorga (Asturica) is not upon a river, but a little 
stream flows a mile to the east, called the Tuerto. Asturica, Dr. 
Southey says, has been derived from the Celtic stoer or stour a. 
river, and yc, a dwelling-place ; answering to our Stourton. The 
Astura river, however, is supposed to be the Ezla, the name having 

SPAIN. 171 

opening on the Bay of Biscay, and bounded on the 
east by the mountains of Burgos and Biscay, on the 
south by Leon, and on the west by Galicia. The 
mean length from east to west is about forty-six 
leagues, and its breadth varies from twelve to eighteen. 
It is mountainous throughout, and can never, one 
would imagine, have been much more populous than 
it is now. The total number of inhabitants is stated 
by Laborde to be . under 350,000 ; including 2,268 
secular priests, 390 monks, 200 nuns, and 114,274 
hidalgos.* The first capital of the little kingdom of 
Pelayo was the port of Gijon, from which his succes- 
sors took the title of count ; this was afterwards 
changed to that of count of Oviedo, till Alfonso II. 
assumed that of king of Leon. Like Wales, it has 
always continued to be a distinct principality, and, 
since the year 1388, has given the title of prince to 
the eldest sons of the Catholic kings. The infant 
Don Henriquez, son of Juan I., king of Castile and 
Leon, was the first who bore it. 

There is but one great road through the principality, 
that which leads from Madrid to Oviedo, thence 
branching off to Gijon and Aviles, each five leagues 
distant. Laborde, however, enumerates eighteen 
passes in the mountains which separate the princi- 
pality from Leon, though he has not described any of 
them. Mr. Townsend speaks of several, adding, " I 

been corrupted into Eztola Ezla. The province was named from 
the_river, the people (Astures) from the province, and the capital 
from the people. There was a town of the same name, Astyra, 
in Italy, and another in the East. SOUTHEY'S Letters, vol. i. 
p. 129. 

It would seem that adults only are reckoned, since the number 
of hidalgos, added to 2,658 ecclesiastics, 300 advocates, 1,500 
students, and 6,200 servants, would amount to 125,000, not leaving 
two-thirds for women and children. 

172 SPAIN. 

apprehend every one of them is strong."* The 
aspect of the country presents, he says, a striking re- 

* Their names are : Del Quadro, Cienfuegas, Cerro de San An- 
tonio, Leitariegos, Zareza, Semiedo, dela Meza, Ventana, Cubilla, 
Pajares, Piedrafita, Ligueras, San Isidro, Catiagro, Tarna, Venta- 
niella, Arcenario,.and Beza. But as at least three of these passes 
occurred in Mr. Townsend's route (for Cienfuegas is evidently the 
same place as Aguerina, the birth-place of Cardinal Cienfuegos, 
Del Quadro is possibly Grado, and Ligueras Aguera, ) they must 
not be mistaken for distinct routes. Beza is probably the same aa 
Buisa, a village on the frontier of Leon, whence the direct route to 
Oviedo leads to Pajares, four leagues, thence to Vega del Ciego, 
four leagues; to Oviedo, five; total, 13 leagues. This route twice 
crosses the river Caudal, and afterwards follows the course of the 
Nalon. In Laborde's enumeration, and throughout his work, we 
look in vain for any mention of the far-famed vale of Covadonga, 
in which Pelayo destroyed a Moorish army that had rashly entered 
the perilous defile, by the same expedient that was had recourse to 
on a smaller scale in the Tyrol, in the memorable war of 1809. We 
learn from Dr. Southey, (no mean authority in all matters relating 
to Spanish history,) that Covadonga is the place where the sources 
of the Deva gush from the living rock on the summit of Atfseva ; 
and his description of the defile might almost seem borrowed from 
Mr. Townsend's account of the pass of Somiedo : 

" the rocky vale, the mountain stream, 

Incumbent crags, and hills that over hills 
Arose on either hand, here hung with wood*, 

Here rich with heath 

Pelayo, upward as he cast his eyes 
Where crags loose hanging o'er the narrow pass 
Impended, there beheld his country's strength 
Insuperable, and in his heart rejoiced." 

After the Moors had been overwhelmed in the defile by the dread 
artillery of the mountaineers, " huge trunks, and stones, and 
loosened crags, down rolled with crash continuous, and commixed 
with sounds more dreadful," we are told : 

" By this the blood 

Which Deva down her fatal channel poured, 
Purpling Pionia's course, had reach'd and stain'd 
The wider stream of Sella." 

See SOPTHEY'S Roderick, vol. ii. pp. 24, 133, 161. The Pionia of 
Dr. Southey is, we suspect, the Pilona of Laborde. The Sella, 
after washing the town of Cangas de Onis, receives the Curado, 

SPAIN. 173 

semblance to many parts of England. " The same is 
the aspect of the country as to verdure, enclosures, 
live hedges, hedge-rows, and woods , the same mixture 
of woodland, arable, and rich pasture ; the same kinds 
of trees, and crops, and fruit and cattle. Both suffer 
by humidity in winter, yet, from the same source, 
find an ample recompense in summer ; and both enjoy 
a temperate climate, with this difference, that, as to 
humidity and heat, the scale preponderates on the 
side of the Asturias. In sheltered spots, and not far 
distant from the sea, they have olives, vines, and 
oranges. The cider is not so good as ours ; but I am 
not able to determine how far the fault is in the 
making. Such is the humidity of the atmosphere, 
that the misletoe grows not only on the oak, but on 
apples, pears, and thorns. . . The north-east wind indeed 
is dry, attended with a bright sky and a bracing air ; 
but with every other wind the sun is obscured with 
clouds. The north wind always produces the most 
dreadful tempests, and the north-west is little better. 
Both bring rain in summer ; and the west wind comes 
loaded at all times with moisture from the Atlantic 
Ocean. In May, June, and July, they seldom see 
the sun; but then, to balance this, in August and 
September they as seldom see a cloud. The coast is 
temperate, and comparatively free from rain ; but 
such is the moisture of the hills, that no care is suf- 
ficient to preserve their fruits, their grain, their iron 
instruments, from mould, rot, or rust. Both the 
acetous and the putrid fermentation here make a 

and falls into the Bay of Biscay a little below the village of Junco. 
The Deva, according to Laborde, takes its rise to the east of the 
Sella, and in the same mountains, and entering the Asturia of 
Santillana, passes by Puertas, Mettera, and Potes, the chief place 
of the little country of the Liebana, or five valleys. 

174 SPAIN. 

rapid progress. Besides the relaxing humidity of the 
climate, the common food of the inhabitants contri- 
butes much to the prevalence of most of the diseases 
that infest this principality. They eat little flesh ; 
they drink little wine. Their usual diet is Indian 
corn, with beans, peas, chesnuts, apples, pears, melons, 
and cucumbers ; and even their bread, made of Indian 
corn, has neither barm nor leaven, but is in the state 
of dough. Their drink is water." The list which 
this Traveller gives of the diseases endemical in the 
Asturias, is truly formidable, intermittent^, dropsies, 
hysteria, hypochondriasis, scrofula, scurvy, scabies, 
leprosy, palsy, epilepsy, apoplexy, pleurisy, phthisis, 
madness! For the leprosy alone, there are in this 
province twenty lazaros. The mal de rosa, a sort of 
erysipelatous eruption, is a disease peculiar to the 
Asturias : if neglected, its effects are fatal. Yet, 
though subject to such a variety of diseases, few coun- 
tries can produce more numerous examples of longe- 
vity.* Moreover, that arch enemy, humidity, must 
not be made responsible for the whole catalogue of 
ailments. Hypochondriasis and the nephritic com- 
plaints to which the cloistered tribe are subject, Mr. 
Townsend reasonably ascribes to their inactive, slug- 
gish life, without hope or object. Palsies are brought 
on by want of exercise, and dropsies by the constant 
recurrence to the universal prescription, Fiat vene- 
sectio. As in Murcia, the Sangrado system is here 
the panacea for every bodily ill. 

Coal every where abounds in the Asturias, but has 
never been turned to account, owing to its intolerable 
smell, derived from the sulphur with which it is im- 
pregnated. It is enclosed in calcareous rock should 

* This remark applies equally to Galicia. 

SPAIN. 175 

it be found in schist, it would probably cease to be 
offensive. The whole province abounds with marl, 
chalk, gypsum, calcareous freestone, limestone en- 
closing fossil shells, and marble. There are also con- 
siderable mines of jet and amber; and Laborde speaks 
of lead, copper, iron, magnesia, and arsenic, as found 
in these mountains. 

The only towns of any importance besides Oviedo, 
are Gijon, Aviles, Luanco, Navia, Cangas, and San- 
tillana. Gijon, the Jixa of the Romans, is a con- 
siderable port, to which the English resort for filberts 
and chesnuts. Mill-stones and cider are also exported 
here. The harbour, made and maintained at a vast 
expense, " is not reckoned safe ; but there is no other 
in the vicinity which can stand in competition with 
it." The town contained, in 1786, about 800 fami- 
lies ; Laborde estimates the population at 3,000 souls. 
There is, however, strange to say, only one parish- 
church, one chapel, and one convent of nuns. A castle 
defends the town. Aviles (Avila) stands at the same 
distance N.N.W. of Oviedo, that Gijon does to the 
N.N.E,, on the left bank of the river of the same 
name; about a league from the sea, in the bay of Las 
Penas. With the same population, it contains two 
parish-churches, two monasteries, and a nunnery, a 
hospital for pilgrims, and another for old women : it 
trades in fish and cloths. Luanco is a small sea-port, 
containing 370 houses, and carries on a little coasting 
trade. Mr. Townsend spent some days at each of 
these places. Nothing can exceed, he says, their sim- 
plicity of manners in this distant province. This sim- 
plicity, however, from his account, appears to differ 
little from rudeness, and is accompanied with a fami- 
liarity and plainness of speech which would elsewhere 
be deemed gross and indecent. The probity of the 

176 SPAIN. 

Asturians is proverbial, and so is their dullness ; yet, 
Asturias has produced some enlightened men. The 
useful arts are here in their infancy. The ploughs 
about Oviedo are the worst, Mr. Townsend says, he 
ever saw; the harrows have no iron, and are used 
only for maize; the cart-wheels are without spokes, 
the axis being received by a plank, eight or ten inches 
wide, fastened to the felloe. The rough music made 
by the wooden pins of the axis, resembling the sound 
of a postboy's horn, is heard from morning to night in 
every part of the principality, and, to the ear of a 
native peasant, is most delightful. The houses are 
furnished in the most primitive manner, with oak 
tables and benches, beds without curtains, floors un- 
planed, the walls whitewashed, and the rooms without 

Cangas de Onis, one of the principal places in 
Asturias, is situated at the confluence of the Sella and 
the Curado, in the route from Oviedo to Santillana 
Not quite a league from this town stands " the cele- 
brated abbey of Our Lady of Cobadonga" (Covadonga), 
which, Laborde says, is of the highest antiquity in 
the country; but he does not mention whether it 
marks the site of the famous victory over the Moors. 
Not so far off, he adds, is " the curious monastery of 
San Pedro Villanosa," which is supposed to occupy 
the site of a palace of Alfonso I. Santillana (Santa 
Julianee Fanum) is on the confines of the principality 
to the north-east, near the sea, and twenty-two 
leagues from Oviedo. It contains a collegiate church, 
a monastery, and about 400 families. 

To the east of Asturia de Santillana lies a little 
canton, called Las Montanas de Santander, or de 
Burgos, which, Laborde says, has been improperly con- 
sidered as part either of Asturias or of Biscay. The 

SPAIN. 177 

only place of importance, however, which it contains, 
is the episcopal city and port of Santander, situated 
twenty leagues west of Bilbao, and thirty-five north- 
west of Burgos. It has a commodious harbour, de- 
fended by two forts, and carries on a considerable 
trade, chiefly in wool and flour j* there are also some 
manufactories : the population is estimated at 10,000. 
The town is the residence of several foreign consuls, 
and the seat of a consular tribunal ; whereas it is one 
of the privileges of Biscay, that no political or com- 
mercial agent is to reside at any of its towns or ports. 
This little canton is under the same laws as the Cas- 
tiles, and may be considered as in fact an extension of 
the province of Old Castile. Its bishop is suffragan 
to the archbishop of Burgos. 

Westward of Asturias, the kingdom of Galicia, the 
most populous province of Spain, extends forty leagues 
along the coast of the Atlantic, and forty-six north 
and south, forming the north-west angle of the Penin- 
sula. A prolongation of the great Cantabrian chain of 
mountains intersects the province from east to west, 
terminating in Cape Finisterre. This was the coun- 
try of the ancient Callaici, which included a part of 
Old Castile. Together with Asturias and Biscay, it 
maintained its independence alike against the Roman 
legions and the Moorish invaders. It was erected 
into a kingdom in 1060, by Ferdinand the Great ; but, 
up to the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella, towards 
the close of the fifteenth century, its inhabitants 
shewed little respect for the authority of the Castilian 
monarchs. The province contains an archbishopric, 
that of San Jago ; four episcopal sees, Tuy, Orense, 

In 1803, 156 vessels entered this port, of which 12 were English, 
1 1 American, 62 French, 14 Spanish coasting vessels, and 39 from 
the Spanish colonies. 

178 SPAIN. 

Mondenedo, and Lugo; ninety-eight religious houses :* 
and a population estimated at about 1,350,000. There 
are no fewer than forty ports. That of Corunna has 
acquired too melancholy a celebrity in modern annals; 
and we shall now conduct the reader from Madrid to 
that point of the coast, taking in our way some places 
of high interest which remain to be described in the 
kingdom of Leon. 


THE post-road to the Galician frontier, for the 
first twelve leagues, is the same as the road to San 
Ildefonso and Valladolid. At the Funda San Rafael, 
it turns off to the left to Medina del Campo and Bena- 
vente. The route by which Mr. Townsend returned 
from Leon to Madrid, was by Salamanca and Avila. 
The latter city, about sixteen leagues from Madrid, 
occupies an imposing situation on a granitic rock 
at the head of a narrow valley, running east and 
west nearly ten leagues, and never much more than a 
mile in breadth, watered by the Adaja. Enclosed by 
a wall with eighty-eight projecting towers, it has 
every where the appearance of high antiquity; but 
this character attaches more especially to the cathedral, 
the cloister of which is distinguished by its exquisite 
neatness and elegant simplicity. The treasures of this 
church were formerly immense. The town itself, 
however, was reduced, in 1786, to a thousand houses, 
one-sixth part of its former population ; yet, the 
convents were undiininished in number, there being 
nine monasteries and seven nunneries. Besides the 

* The monks are rated at only 2,394, the nuns at COO, the other 
ecclesiastical persons at 10,425, the nobles at 13,800. In Leon, 
which does not contain half the population, the convents are twice 
as many, the secular priests half the number, the nobles as 2% to 1 . 

SPAIN. 179 

cathedral, there are eight parish churches, a university, 
and five hospitals. " No wonder," says Mr. Town- 
send, " that the streets should swarm with sturdy 
beggars." In 1789, some English merchants esta- 
blished a calico- manufactory here, which, in 1792, 
maintained 700 persons. This has probably been long 
since abandoned ; and the canons, priests, monks, 
and mendicants, left in undisturbed possession of the 
birth-place of Saint Theresa, except on her saintship's 
festival ; the Carmelite nunnery in which she took 
the veil, and the Carmelite monastery, built on the 
spot where she was born, are then much resorted to 
by the faithful, and Avila receives a temporary acces- 
sion of inhabitants. In crossing the high granite 
mountains which separate the rich valley of Avila from 
the plains of New Castile, Mr. Townsend travelled 
nearly five leagues without seeing a human face or 
habitation, and there was scarcely a beaten track. As 
he ascended them, the ilex gave way to the roble oak, 
but near the summit he saw only pines, the daphne 
mezereum, the genista, the cistus tribes, and thyme. 

Mr. Townsend had made this detour by way of 
Avila, for the sake of visiting Piedrahita, a village 
of 150 houses, with three convents, and a beaterio, 
belonging to the house of Alba, where the duke had 
built a country-seat in imitation of the English style. 
Contrary to the Spanish custom, every room is ceiled, 
and the walls are papered. It stands in a valley, the 
waters of which run into the Adaja. From this 
place, the road lies over a broken country to Alba de 
Tormes, which gives its name to the dukedom ; a city 
containing 300 houses and seven convents, together 
with a castle, in which is deposited the armour of all 
the dukes of that house. At the end of four short 
leagues from Alba, crossing some high land covered 


180 SPAIN. 

with a forest of ilex, the traveller again descends into 
the valley of the Tormes, and arrives at the far- 
famed city of Salamanca, the second in rank in the 
kingdom of Leon ; distant, by the direct road, thirty- 
seven leagues from Madrid, and thirty-three from the 
city of Leon. 


ON approaching this city from Palencia, its posi- 
tion, in an amphitheatrical form, on the banks of the 
Tormes, is highly picturesque. Were the country 
less naked, M. Bourgoing says, it would resemble the 
environs of Tours. The fine stone bridge of twenty- 
seven arches, is said to be the work of the Romans. 
" On entering Salamanca," says the French Traveller, 
" dirty, narrow, and ill-peopled streets, would bespeak 
it to be one of the most gloomy cities of Europe, and 
it will easily be believed that its population, formerly 
numerous, is reduced to 2,800 houses ; but we are 
greatly surprised upon arriving at its modern square, 
equally remarkable for the neatness and regularity of 
its architecture. It is adorned with three rows of 
balconies, which follow each other without interrup- 
tion. Ninety arcades form its foot pavement. In the 
intervals between the arches are placed medallions of 
the most illustrious persons Spain has to boast of. 
On one side are to be seen all the kings of Castile, 
up to the reign of Charles III.; on the other, those 
of the best known Spanish heroes, as Bernardo del 
Carpio, Gonsalvo de Cordova, and Ferdinand Cortez. 
The niches on the eastern side are still empty. 

" The cathedral of Salamanca, although contem- 
porary with the age of Leo X., is in bad taste; the 
boldness of its nave, however, and the finish of its 

SPAIN. 181 

Gothic ornaments, make it one of the most remarkable 
edifices in Spain.* When we know that Salamanca, 
besides this cathedral, has 27 parish-churches, 25 
monasteries, and as many nunneries, we need not be 
astonished at its poverty or depopulation. 

" Until the reign of Philip III., the reputation of 
the university attracted students, not only from all 
parts of Spain and Portugal, but also from France, 
Italy, England, and Spanish America, This celebrity 
has a little declined, although, according to the last 
form which was given to it by the Council of Castile, 
the university of Salamanca has still sixty-one pro- 
fessorships, as well as a college for the Hebrew, Greek, 
and Latin languages, and has to boast of some emi- 
nent professors, who are occupied in pursuing into its 
most mystical labyrinths, the pretended philosophy of 

" Another establishment, more modern than the 
university of Salamanca, and more celebrated in our 
days, is that of the Colegios Mayores (Great Colleges) . 
There are in Spain, seven houses of education which 
bear this name ; and Salamanca alone contains four of 
them. These edifices are, at least, astonishing for 
their dimensions. The most ancient, that of San 
Bartolome, has been recently rebuilt ; its faade and 
principal court deserve the attention of a connoisseur. 
It contains a rich library of manuscripts. Several 

* It was founded in 1513, but not finished till 1734. It is 378 
feet long, by 181 ; 130 high in the nave ; and 80 in the aisles. Mr. 
Townsend says, "the whole is beautiful; but the most striking 
part is the sculpture." 

t There is a college allotted to the Irish, in which threescore 
students are received at a time, and when these are sent home, the 
same number are admitted : the course of education occupies 
eight years ; four of which are given to philosophy, and four to 
divinity. Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas here hold divided sway. 

182 SPAIN. 

eminent scholars have issued from it, as Alfonso 
Tostado, whose erudition and fertility of genius still 
serve as a proverb among the modern Spaniards. 

" In the midst of the crowd of sacred edifices which 
Salamanca contains, I was recommended to visit the 
church of the Dominicans, the fa9ade of the Augus- 
tins, and the church of San Marcos. In the first, 
I remarked a Gothic fa9ade, wrought with much 
care, a vast nave, and chapels richly decorated ; but 
I sought in vain for the beautiful pictures which had 
been so highly extolled. The roof of the choir is 
painted in fresco by Palomino, who, in writing the 
lives of the Spanish painters, has given lectures on 
the fine arts. It appears that, at Salamanca at least, 
he has not added example to precept. Instead of 
chef-d'ceuvres in painting, I was shewn an immense 
number of relics. I shall not enumerate all the sacred 
treasures which were passed in review before me ; I 
cannot, however, omit mentioning the Bible of the 
famous anti-pope Benedict XIII., who was born in 
Spain, and deposed by the Council of Constance. ' I 
beseech you,' said our conductor, ' do not confound 
him with a pope of the same name, who belonged to 
the order of the Dominicans, and who was the true 
pope,' I saw nothing remarkable in the gate of the 
Augustins, but the ornaments with which it is loaded. 
It faces a castle or palace of the duke of Alva. The 
third church, of which so much has been said, is the 
old college of the Jesuits, now given to a fraternity of 
regular canons, under the name of the church of San 
Marcos. It has nothing remarkable, excepting a mag- 
nificent portico of the Corinthian order." 

It has already been mentioned, that the university 
was first established at Palencia. In the year 1030, 
there was not a single convent at Salamanca ; and in 

SPAIN. 183 

1480, there were only six monasteries and three nun- 
neries. In 1518, they counted 11,000 virgius ; and 
the students were at one time reckoned at about 
16,000. In 1785, the number matriculated was 1,909, 
and the persons under vows were happily reduced to 
1,519. The secular and parochial clergy still amounted 
to 580, although the twenty-seven parishes did not 
contain three thousand houses, and the families are 
stated by Laborde at only 3,400. Since that time, 
however, Salamanca has been the theatre of sanguinary 
conflict, and has given its name to one of the most 
memorable engagements in the Peninsular war, in 
which the French under Marmont were defeated by 
the British under Wellington. The military officer 
whose " Recollections of the Peninsula " have been 
already referred to, passed through the city in 1813, 
about a year after the victory, and he thus describes 
the appearance it then presented. 

"There is scarcely a place in all Spain, the name 
of which is so familiar to our ears as Salamanca. 
Le Sage, in his admirable Gil Bias, has immortalised 
it, and we all feel acquainted with the students of 
Salamanca ; but we looked for them in vain, as we 
walked under the handsome stone piazzas of the most 
noble-looking square in Spain. These were, indeed, 
filled with a motley crowd of people, but we could 
discern no youthful scholars in their academical habits. 
A few, with some of the old professors, still lingered 
in the deserted colleges, or might be seen pacing 
the spacious aisles of the elegant cathedral ; but 
numbers of the students, at an early period of the 
war, obeyed the sacred call of their country, and left 
their peaceful colleges for the tumultuous camp. In 
the year 1812, two convents in Salamanca were 
fortified and garrisoned bv the French, besieged and 

184 SPAIN. 

taken by the British : thus, an open and quiet city 
became a scene of contest, confusion, and bloodshed. 
Monks yielded up their cells to soldiers ; all the houses 
for a certain space round the convents were razed, 
while the more distant were injured or beat down by 
the heavy fire of the French batteries ; and many of 
the streets and lanes were enfiladed by their cannon. 
Heaps of ruins every where presented themselves." 

Were we able to follow in the same manner the 
track of the contending armies, we should have many 
a similar tale to tell of ruined and depopulated towns 
and villages. The town of Banos, between ten and 
eleven leagues from Salamanca on the road to Placcenia, 
was still in ruins when this officer passed through it 
in' 1813, it having been plundered and half destroyed 
by a corps of the French army in 1809. The baths 
from which it takes its name, are hot and sul- 
phureous, and have been held in high esteem from 
remote antiquity. The Puerto de Banos separates 
Old Castile from Estremadura. 

For seventeen leagues S.S.W. of Salamanca, the 
road lies through a dreary and neglected country, to 
Ciudad Rodrigo, from which the duke of Wellington 
take his Spanish ducal title. It stands on the Agueda, 
only eight miles from the frontier of Portugal, and 
was built by Ferdinand II., in the thirteenth century, 
on the site of the ancient Mirobriga, as a garrison 
town. It has a castle, and is fortified by walls and a 
deep fosse ; but the ramparts are weak. It is an epis- 
copal city, and contains, besides the cathedral, a colle- 
giate and six parish-churches, five monasteries, and 
four nunneries. The cathedral is "a tasteless Gothic 
pile," and the city contains nothing remarkable. The 
population is estimated by Laborde at 10,000. The 
Portuguese took the city in 1700, but the Spaniards 

SPAIN. 185 

recovered it the following year. It surrendered to the 
French in June 1810, and continued in their possession 
till January 1812, when it was taken by Lord Wel- 
lington. The adjacent plains extend five leagues to 
the north, where they are terminated by mountains 
which are connected with those of Bejar, Pena de 
Francia, and the lofty Sierra de Gata. 

All the way from Salamanca to Leon, a distance of 
thirty-three leagues, the country is so flat and open, 
that the Moorish cavalry must have met with nothing 
to impede their progress till they arrived at the foot 
of the Asturian mountains. The route lies through 
Zamora, which has already been referred to, a city 
of considerable antiquity, situated in a fertile country, 
near the conflux of the Ezla with the Duero, and 
consequently on the confines of Portugal. * The ex- 
tent of its fortifications, twenty-three parish-churches, 
and sixteen convents within the walls, serve to shew 
what it was; but it is now reduced very low. On 
the road from Salamanca to Zamora, between Caldaza 
de Valdeunciel and Corales, there is a forest five 
leagues in length, in which Mr. Townsend's guide 
pointed out a number of eminences, all distinguished 
by one generic term, confessionarios, " implying that, 
on these, the traveller would stand in need of a con- 
fessor to prepare him for his fate ;" so notorious was 

It is said to have been called Sentica by the Romans. Having 
been destroyed in the civil wars, it was rebuilt, towards the latter 
end of the ninth century, by Alonzo III., who changed its name to 
Zamora, Mariana says, on account of the number of blueish stones 
found there, which bore that appellation in the Moorish language. 
In 1066, Don Fernando, king of Leon, at his death, left his terri- 
tories among his children, and Zamora fell to Dona Uraca, his 
daughter. Over one of the gates is a female figure in stone, with 
See DALRYMPLE'S Travels, p. 78. 

186 SPAIN. 

this forest for robbers. From Zaraora, the road to 
Leon lies almost for the whole way near the Ezla. 
At Benavente, it falls into the royal road from Madrid 
to Corunna. 

Benavente, says Mr. Townsend, is at present re- 
markable only for the palace of the dutchess, a vast 
and shapeless pile, possessing the marks of high anti- 
quity, and commanding a most extensive property. 
This city seems to be going to decay, yet includes six 
convents. It is divided into nine parishes, and reckons 
2,234 souls. There is a mud wall round the town. 
Some of the churches, -Dr. Southey says, are " fine 
specimens of early Saxon architecture ;" and he gives 
an interesting description of the castle. " We entered 
by a gradual ascent, which led to a cloister or colon- 
nade of four sides, looking into a court where once 
had been a fountain. We were hence conducted 
through a Moorish gateway of three semicircular 
arches, to a large room decorated with bearings, &c. 
This opened into a gallery of about fifty paces long 
and twelve wide, ornamented in the most elegant 
Moorish taste. The front is supported by jasper pillars; 
the pavement consists of tiles coloured and painted 
with the escalop or scallop-shell of San Jago. In 
the recesses of the wall are Arabic decorations and 
inscriptions. From hence is an extensive prospect 
over the fertile valleys of Leon, watered by the Marez 
and the Ezla. From the wall of the staircase an arm 
in armour supports a lamp. The roof of the chapel 
represents stalactites. In the armoury are old mus- 
kets, where the trigger is brought round the match to 
the pan."* 

* Southey's Letters from Spain, &c. vol. i. p. 139. In the learned 
Author's History of the Peninsular War, this castle is represented 
to have been one of the finest monuments of the age of chivalry. 

SPAIN. 187 

From Benavente,* it is a distance of six leagues 
and a half to Banesa, crossing the Orbigo at the Puente 
de la Bisana. On each side of the plain are towns 
thickly scattered, which have once been fortified. 
Lapwings, storks, and wild ducks, are found here in 
great abundance. The broad nests of the storks are 
seen on the churches of Banesa, " an old and ugly 
town, with a fine alatneda." It is four leagues more 
over the plain to Astorga. 

This ancient capital of the Astures, styled by Pliny 
a magnificent city, and ennobled by Augustus with 

" We have nothing in England," he says, " which approaches to 
its grandeur. Berkeley, Raby, even Warwick and Windsor, are 
poor fabrics in comparison. With Gothic grandeur, it has the 
richness of Moorish decoration ; open galleries, where Saracenic 
arches are supported by pillars of porphyry and granite, cloisters 
with fountains playing in their courts, jasper columns and tesse- 
lated floors, niches, alcoves, and seats in the walls, over-arched in 
various forms, and enriched with every grotesque adornment of 
gold and silver, and colours hardly less gorgeous. It belonged to 
the duke of Ossuna ; and the splendour of old times was still con- 
tinued there. The extent of this magnificent edifice may be esti- 
mated from the circumstance, that two regiments, besides artillery, 
were quartered within its walls. They proved the most destruc- 
tive enemies that had ever entered them. Their indignant feelings 
broke out in acts of wanton mischief, and the officers who felt and 
admired the beauties of this venerable pile, attempted in vain to 
save it from devastation. Every thing combustible was seized, 
fires were lighted against the fine walls, and pictures of unkp own 
value were heaped together as fuel. The archives of the family 
fortunately escaped." (Vol. i. p. 781.) One would hope that there is 
rather too warm a colouring thrown over this picture. Dalrymple, 
in 1774, speaks of this matchless edifice as " the remains of an old 
castle ;" Mr. Townsend calls it a shapeless pile ; and the account 
in Dr. Southey's early Letters by no means conveys so high an 
idea of its grandeur. As to the paintings of the great masters in 
this castle, they seem to have been overlooked by all our tra- 

* From Benavente, another route may be taken, leading through 
Sitramaand Vega de Tera, to Orense and Santiago (98 leagues from 
Madrid), and thence to Corunna (10 leagues). 

188 SPAIN. 

the title of Augusta, is now an inconsiderable place, 
surrounded with ruinous walls, though it retains the 
dignity of an episcopal city. The streets are paved 
in ridges. The castle and the cathedral, Dr. Southey 
says, are well worthy the traveller's attention ; the 
one for its antiquity, the other for its beauty. Over 
the castle gateway are the figures of a warrior and lion 
fighting, and escutcheons, supported each by a man 
and woman in the dress of the times. They were 
building a new convent by the ruins of the castle in 
1795, while whole families were actually living in 
holes dug in the castle wall. " The halls of hospitality 
are desolate," observes the learned Traveller, " but 
the haunts of superstition are multiplying." 

On leaving Astorga, the traveller enters on the 
country of the Maragatos* (or Mauregatos), of whom 
Dalrymple gives the following account. " In the 
morning I observed a number of women in a peculiar 
kind of dress ; on inquiry, I found that they were 
called Mauregatas. Their habit is very particular: 
they wear large ear-rings, and a kind of white hat, 
which, at a little distance, both as to size and shape, 
resembles what is worn, in like manner, by the Moor- 
ish women. Their hair is divided in the front, and 
falls on each side of the face; they have a number 
of little pictures of saints set in silver, and other 
trinkets pendant to large beads of coral, tied round 
the neck, and spreading all over the bosom ; their 
shift is stitched at the breast, and buttoned at the 
collar ; they wear a brown woollen cloth boddice and 
petticoat, the sleeves of the boddice very large and 
open behind. The Mauregatos (the men) wear very 

* Maragato is a Spanish word for a particular sort of ornament 
on women's tuckers ; but it is probably derived from the dress o 
the Maragatas. 

SPAIN. isy 

large drawers, which tie at the knee, and the loose 
part hangs over the tie as far as the calf of the leg : 
the rest of their dress is a short kind of coat, with a 
belt round the waist. * I inquired of every decent- 
looking person I met, to endeavour to obtain some 
account of these people ; but I was not very successful. 
All I could learn was, that there are a great many 
villages inhabited by them about this town ; that they 
have bound themselves by compact to certain regula- 
tions, from which they never deviate ; that they inter- 
many among each other ; and if any of them should 
change their dress, or violate their established customs, 
they are driven from the society. As their garb is 
different from that of the inhabitants of every other 
part of the kingdom, so are their customs, manners, 
&c. When a young woman is affianced, she is not 
allowed to speak to any man but him who is intended 
to be her husband, till the marriage is celebrated, on 
the penalty of paying a certain fine, which is a quantity 
of wine : the young fellows follow and torment her on 
this occasion, to induce her to speak. After marriage, 
the women never comb their hair. They work in 
the fields at all the labours of agriculture, while the 
men are employed as carriers from this country across 
the mountains into Galicia, keeping many hundreds of 
horses for that purpose ; for here, the carriage road 
from Madrid terminates. These people are in affluent 
circumstances, being very industrious, yet they think 
it necessary to live in indigence. They are supposed 
to be the Yanguesian carriers mentioned in Don 
Quixote. Flores, in his ' Espana Sagrada,' writing 
of the country about Astorga, says, ' that it is what 
is called the territory of the Mauregatos, a people 

* Southey describes it as a leathern jacket, in form not unlike 
the ancient cuirass. 

190 SPAIN. 

given to commerce, in which they are noted for their 
integrity; that the women retain a dress so ancient 
that its origin is not known, being the most uncom- 
mon in all Spain; and that the particular genius, 
customs, manners, &c. of these people, would require 
a volume, at least, to describe them.' "* 

This Traveller conjectures, that the inhabitants of 
this district may be the descendants of those who fol- 
lowed the fortune of the usurper Mauregato, who, by 
the aid of the Moors, succeeded in seating himself on 
the throne of Leon about A,D. 775, and who, during 
his short reign, encouraged Moorish settlers. The 
dress of the women, and many of their customs and 
manners, he says, are very like the Moorish. Laborde 
says, the patois of the district contains a mixture of 
corrupt Arabic. 

A highly interesting tract extends westward of 
Astorga, of which Dr. Southey gives the following 
description. " To the west of Astorga, the Asturian 
mountains send off two great branches, trending from 
north to south ; those in the eastern range are the 
Puerto del Rabanal, the Cruz de Ferro, and Fonce- 
badon ; those in the western, Puerto del Cebrero, 
Puerto del Courel, and Puerto del Aguiar ; on the 
south, they meet with the Sierra de Sanabria, the 
Sierra de Cabrera, and the Monies Aquilianos, or 
Aguianas, as they are now called. The tract which 
is thus surrounded with mountains is called the Bierzo, 
a word corrupted from the Bergidum Flavium of 

* Dalrymple's Travels, p. 86. " These people never intermarry 
with the other Spaniards, but form a separate race. They cut the 
hair close to the head, and sometimes leave it in tufts like flowers. 
Their countenances express honesty, and their character corre- 
sponds to their physiognomy ; for a Maragato was never known 
to defraud, or ever to lose any thing committed to his care." 
SOUTHEV'S Letters, vol. i. p. 17. 

SPAIN. 191 

Ptolemy. The city which bore that name was at 
Castro de la Ventosa ; it is a tradition in the country, 
that there was a city there formerly; traces of the 
walls may still be discovered there, and the situation 
agrees with the Itinerary of Antoninus. It is pre- 
cisely the spot which would be chosen to command the 
Bierzo, and for this reason, Fernando II., and after 
him his son, Alfonso IX., would have re-peopled it, 
but the domain belonged to the royal monastery of 
Caracedo, and they desisted in consequence of a repre- 
sentation from that quarter. 

" This Bierzo is the Thebais of Spain. ' The mul- 
titude of its sanctuaries, the holiness of its hermitages, 
the number of its anchorites and of its monks who 
distinguished themselves by thfir victories over the 
world, he only can relate who can count the stars of 
heaven ; ' so Florez expresses himself, betrayed by 
zeal out of his usual sobriety of language. I would 
go far to see any place which devotion has sanctified, 
especially if it had been so sanctified because of its 
natural tendency to excite devotional feelings. 

" This amphitheatre is from north to south (com- 
puting from summit to summit) about sixteen leagues, 
and about fourteen from east to west. All its waters, 
collected into the river Sil, pass into the Val de Orras 
in Galicia, through a narrow gorge : if that opening 
were closed, the whole Bierzo would be formed into a 
prodigious lake. The centre is a plain of about four 
square leagues, comprised between the rivers Sil, Cua, 
and Burbia, and fertile and lovely valleys wind up into 
the heights beyond. Wine, corn, pulse, flax, pasture 
and fruits, are produced here in abundance, though 
the inhabitants of this delightful region live in a state 
of contented and idle poverty. The hazel, the chesuut, 
the pear, the apple, the cherry, the mulberry, and 

192 SPAIN. 

even the olive grow wild upon the hills. The streams 
supply plenty of fish ; and gold, silver, lead, and iron, 
are to be found in the mountains. 

" It is said, that these wilds were inhabited by 
anchorites in the earliest ages of Christianity ; but 
Christianity was not so soon polluted by the philosophy 
and folly of- the East. The certain history of the 
Bierzo begins with Fructuoso, a saint of royal extrac- 
tion, who was born about the year 600. His father 
is called in some breviaries, duke of the Bierzo. S. 
Valerio, the contemporary biographer of his son, says 
that he was dux exercitus Hi&pania ; and this, as he 
had extensive pastures in that part of the country, 
explains the title. Fructuoso, in his childhood, some- 
times accompanied his father here when he came to 
inspect his flocks and herds ; the beauty and the sub- 
limity of these vales and mountains deeply impressed 
him, and in the silence of his heart he devoted himself 
to a religious life. This resolution he executed as soon 
as the death of his parents left him master of himself. 
He then founded the monastery of Compludo, as it is 
now called, by the source of the Molina, which rises 
in the Puerto del Rabanal, and falls into the Sil a little 
above Ponferrada. His sister's husband applied to the 
king to prevent him from thus disposing of his pro- 
perty. Fructuoso, upon this, stript the altars, covered 
them with sackcloth, and betook himself to prayer and 
fasting : and the speedy death of his brother-in-law 
was imputed to these means. After this he founded 
another monastery, now called S. Pedro de Montes, 
near the source of the Oza, which rises in the Montes 
Aguianas, and falls into the Sil below Ponferrada. 
His next foundation was S. Felix de Visonia, on the 
river of that name, which rises in the Montes de 
Aguiar, and falls into the Sil below Friera ; but this 

SPAIN. 193 

was afterwards deserted, and its lands are now a 
grange belonging to the royal monastery of Carracedo. 

" Meantime his delight was to wander about the 
mountains, bare-footed, and in a dress of goat-skin. 
A hunter one day saw him prostrate upon a crag, 
bent his bow at him, and was on the point of loosing 
the string, when luckily the saint held up his hands 
in the act of prayer. The fame of his piety soon 
spread abroad, and those who were in need of spi- 
ritual consolation, flocked to him; but he, having 
founded his monasteries, established his monks, and 
disposed of his property, retired into the wilds. Here, 
however, he could not be concealed. There were 
tame daws in one of the convents, which he had pro- 
bably amused himself by feeding, and these birds used 
to hover about him, and their clamours indicated 
where he was to be found. A doe fled to him for 
shelter from the hunters; in reverence to him, they 
called the dogs off, and spared her, and from that time 
she never forsook her protector, but lay at his feet, 
and if at any time he left her, tracked his footsteps, 
and moaned till she had found him. A wicked boy 
killed this poor animal, and when Fructuoso heard it, 
he was so affected, that he threw himself upon the 
ground, and sought for comfort in prayer. The 
offender was seized with a fever, very possibly the 
effect of fear ; and Fructuoso has the credit, and pro- 
bably the merit, of having healed him body and soul. 

" The system which he established in his monas- 
teries was not thoroughly understood, till Yepes, in 
the course of his researches for his great work, found 
at S. Pedro de Arlanza, the Institutions or Rule of 
the Saint, in a great manuscript, entitled Regula 
Patrum, written by Hereneo, a priest, in the reign of 
king Don Ordono, The date was obliterated, but the 

194 SPAIN. 

only three Ordonos reigned within little more than a 
century of each other, from the year 850 to 955 ; it 
can therefore be little less than nine centuries old. 
Fructuoso's Rule is, in the main, an abstract of St. Be- 
nedict's, as might be supposed ; but he has made some 
additions to it, under thirteen heads ; and these are 
exceedingly curious. They shew that the societies 
which he organized, in some respects resemble those 
which were afterwards instituted by S. Romualdo as 
a separate order, and they throw great light upon the 
monastic history of Spain. 

" Followers have never been, and never will be 
wanting, for any new system of religious discipline, 
however rigorous. It is said, that the Bierzo could not 
hold the disciples who flocked to Fructuoso, and that 
he was obliged to establish convents and reclusions, 
as they were called, in other parts. Such was the 
effect which he produced on his preaching expeditions, 
that the governors of Andalusia called upon the king 
to interfere, or he would soon have no men for his 
armies, and the whole business of the province would 
be at a stand. His zeal would inflame the enthusiastic; 
the free quarters which he offered would tempt the 
idle; and his authority might be sufficient to keep 
this motley society in order. But S. Valeric has luckily 
written some account of himself as well as of his 
master, and this account shews what a set of wretches 
were collected there. Valerio represents them as 
hypocrites, drunkards, intriguers, thieves, and assas- 
sins : he himself was a rogue of a higher class, and, 
though not cunning enough to pass his life comfortably 
in such company while he was among them, contrived 
to become abbot of S. Pedro de Montes, and to be 
made a saint. Fructuoso is a clearer character: he 
was a man of enthusiastic piety, who devoted his pro- 

SPAIN. 195 

perty and himself to what he believed the best method 
of benefiting mankind ; and that Europe has been in 
the highest degree benefited by the Benedictines, it 
would be absurd and ungrateful to deny. 

" How long his institutions subsisted, cannot now 
be ascertained. Situated in this part of the country, 
they were more likely to be dissolved by internal mis- 
conduct, than by the Moorish conquest. At the close 
of the ninth century, S. Genadio retired to the soli- 
tudes which Fructuoso and Valerio had sanctified. 
Every thing had long been deserted : he found S. Pedro 
de Monies overgrown with thorns, and hidden beneath 
old trees. He had brought a colony of good monks 
with him, and they cleared the woods, restored the 
building, and planted vineyards and orchards. By the 
instigation of the devil, as Genadio believed, he was 
called away from his retirement to be made bishop of 
Astorga ; but after some time, he resigned his bishop- 
ric and returned to the Bierzo. His works, and those 
of Fortis, his successor in the diocese, still remain. 
One of them, the monastery of Santiago de Penalva, 
which Fortis built over the grave of Genadio, is one 
of those places in the Bierzo which would as richly 
repay the picturesque traveller, and probably the an- 
tiquary, as it would the pilgrim. 

" Penalva is, as its name denotes, a white cliff, so 
lofty as to give its appellation to that part of the 
sierraj in winter it is still whiter, being covered with 
snow. A little river, called the River of Silence, 
wells out at its foot. On its banks stands the monas- 
tery, upon a shelf of the mountain, made, says Florez, 
like a table, by the hand of God. Opposite, in a high 
rock, are the Cuevas del Silencio, the caves of silence, 
five natural caverns; they front the east, and all 
the light they receive is through the entrance, which 


196 SPAIN. 

in each of them is not higher than half the stature of 
a man ; but they are spacious within, sufficiently lofty, 
and have seats in the rock all round. Hither the 
devouter and elder monks, veterans in their Catholic 
warfare, retire at Advent and at Lent. The way to 
them is but a goat's path, hands and knees must be 
exerted in climbing it, and it is perilous to look back 
upon the giddy descent : it is as tremendous to look 
up, for immediately above them is a cliff thirty estados 
high. The natives of these mountains, says Sandoval, 
believe that great treasures are hidden in these caves ; 
but there is no other treasure than the holiness which 
so many saints have imparted by their acts of peni- 
tence. The monastery is an edifice of great magnifi- 
cence, with marble columns and a profusion of mosaic 

" Many extraordinary objects occur upon the Sil. 
This river passes by Mount Medulio, the place where 
the remains of a great native force destroyed themselves 
in sight of a Roman army, rather than submit to 
bondage ; a noble spirit, of which more instances are 
to be found in the ancient history of Spain than in 
that of any other country, and which is not yet ex- 
tinct in that noble nation. Upon one part of this 
mountain there are round and lofty fragments of red 
earth, standing up like huge towers, twenty-nine in 
number. Las Medttlas, they are called; old writings 
spell the word Metalas, and thus explain the wonder. 
The Romans had mines here, and the earth has fallen 
in in those parts only which were excavated. Gold is 
still found in the sands of this river, which Florez will 
have to be the Minius of classical geography, because 
here, and not upon the Minho, minium is found. 

" Still more remarkable is the Montefurado, or 
perforated mountain, where the Sil passes for 300 

SPAIN. 197 

paces through an arch in the rock ; and this passage 
is so broad and lofty, that fishing-boats pass through. 
Marks of the chisel, it is said, may be traced at both 
entrances. Florez thinks, that if it be a work of art, 
it was designed for a mine ; but it is far more probable, 
that the arch is natural, and that man has done nothing 
more than perhaps in some places heighten or widen 
it, or remove a projection of the rock, for the easier 
passage of boats. A Roman road of prodigious labour 
is cut in the rock in the opposite mountain, for a 
league in length, and in some places ten estados in 
depth. From the frequent bends and angles which it 
makes, it is called los Codos de Ladoco, the elbows of 
Ladoco. There is an inscription upon the rock, 
' Jovi LADICO,' and hence the name of the moun- 
tain. Another inscription to Jupiter Ladicus was 
found in Galicia. The Mons Sacer of Justin is 
supposed to be the Puerto del Rabanal, near Ponfer- 
rada, and upon the river Sil. It was forbidden to 
violate this mountain by digging in it ; but if a thun- 
derbolt struck it, and exposed any of the gold which 
it contained, that might be collected as a gift of the 

" There are lakes also in this country. The Logo 
de Carracedo, which belongs to a famous monastery 
of that name, is a league in circumference, and of 
exceeding depth. Many streams fall into it, but it 
has no outlet, except in the rainy season, when it dis- 
charges its waters into the Sil, the receiver-general of 
all in the district. But probably the finest scenery is 
to be found upon the Tera, which flows into the dis- 
trict of Sanabria, on the borders of the Bierzo. This 
river rises near the Portillo de Puertas, upon the 
mountains which divide Sanabria and the kingdom 
of Leon from Galicia. Its course is to the south. Two 

198 SPAIN. 

leagues from its source, it waters the Vega de Tera, a 
rich track of pasture upon the mountain, where the 
merino sheep are driven ; and from thence it falls 
precipitately into a delightful vale, called la Cueba, 
the cave. This vale, says Florez, is a little garden, 
a little paradise, walled round on all sides with lofty 
precipices. The river winds slowly through, and then 
makes a second fall, and forms the lake of Senabria, 
which is a league in length, about half as wide, and of 
unfathomable depth, that is, of depth which has not 
yet been fathomed. The Conde de Benavente had a 
fine house upon a cock in the midst of it, which pro- 
bably may still exist. The storms to which this lake 
is exposed, are sometimes dangerous. It belongs to 
the neighbouring monastery of S. Martin de Castaneda, 
which has two other lakes in its domain. 

" The traveller who has leisure and curiosity will 
do well to halt at Villa Franca and at Ponferrada, and 
from thence explore this interesting country." 

In December- 1808, this lovely track of country 
was the scene of one of the deepest tragedies which 
occurred during the Peninsular war, the retreat to 
Corunna, of the British under Sir John Moore, in 
which the life of that noble general, and those of the 
thousands who perished in the retreat, or fell more 
honourably in the subsequent action, were clearly 
sacrificed through deplorable ignorance of the nature 
of the country.* The main road, that of Manzanai, 

* Among other instances of this, Dr. Southey mentions, that Sir 
John Moore was deterred from halting at Villa Franca, lest the 
enemy should get in his rear and intercept him at Lugo ; an appre- 
hension that could not have been entertained, had he been ac- 
quainted with the country ; and the transports which should have 
been ordered to Corunna were, through similar want of informa- 
tion, directed to be sent to Vigo, where they were detained by con- 
trary winds 

SPAIN. 199 

Dr. Southey says, is one of the finest in Europe ; that 
of Foncebadon also leads into the Bierzo ; there is no 
third ingress ; and from Villa Franca towards Corunna, 
the only way is that of Puerto del Cebrero. Both the 
former passes lead along defiles where a thousand men 
might stop the march of twenty times their number ; 
and beyond Villa Franca, there is no lateral road. 
From Astorga to Villa Franca is, according to Dr. 
Southey, about 60 English miles ; but, in Bourgoing's 
Itinerary, the distance given is only 12 posting 
leagues, equal to 50 miles English. " The road for 
the first four leagues is up the mountain, but through 
an open country. Having reached the summit of 
Foncebadon, you enter into some of the strongest 
passes in Europe. It would scarcely be possible for 
an invading army to force their way here against a 
body of determined men. These passes continue 
between two and three leagues, nearly to the village 
of Torre. From thence through Benvibrs and Pon- 
ferrada, nothing can be finer than the country and 
the circle of mountains which binds it in. But never, 
in the most melancholy ages of Spanish history, had 
a more miserable scene been represented, than was 
now to be witnessed here. The horses of the retreat- 
ing army began to fail, and this, in great measure, 
for want of shoes and shoe-nails. As soon as these 
noble animals foundered, they were shot, lest the 
enemy should profit by them. The rain continued 
pouring; the baggage was to be dragged, and the 
soldiers were to wade through half-melted snow. 
The feet of the men also began to fail ; more waggons 
were left behind ; and when the troops reached Villa 
Franca, they were in such a state, that several expe- 
rienced officers predicted, if this march against time 
were persevered in, a fourth of the army would be 


200 SPAIN. 

left in the ditches before it was accomplished From 

Villa Franca to Castro is one continued ascent up 
Monte del Cebrero for about fifteen miles, through one 
of the wildest, most delightful, and most defensible 
countries in the world. The road is a royal one, cut 
with great labour and expense in the side of the 
mountain, and following all its windings. For some 
part of the way, it overhangs the river Valcarce, a 
rapid mountain stream, which falls into the Burbia 
near the town, and afterwards joins the Sil, to pass 
through the single outlet in the gorge of the Bierzo. 
Oaks, alders, poplars, hazels, and chesnuts, grow in 
the bottom and far up the side of the hills ; the apple, 
pear, cherry, and mulberry, are wild in this country ; 
the wild olive is also found here ; and here are the 
first vineyards which the traveller sees on his way 
from Corunna into the heart of Spain. The mountains 
are cultivated in some parts even to their summits, 
and trenches are cut along their sides for the purpose 
of irrigating them. Even those writers whose journals 
were written during the horrors of such a flight, 
noticed this scenery with admiration. It was now 
covered with snow. There was neither provision to 
sustain nature, nor shelter from the rain and snow, 
nor fuel for fire to keep the vital heat from total 
extinction, nor place where the weary and foot-sore 
could rest for a single hour in safety. All that had 
hitherto been suffered was but the prelude to this 
consummate scene of horrors. ' I looked round,' says 
an officer, * when we had hardly gained the highest point 
of those slippery precipices, and saw the rear of the 
army winding along the narrow road. I saw their 
way marked by the wretched people who lay on all 
sides expiring from fatigue and the severity of the 
cold.' That no horror might be wanting, women and 

SPAIN. 201 

children accompanied this wretched army : some were 
frozen to death in the baggage-waggons which were 
broken down, or left upon the road for want of cattle ; 
some died of fatigue and cold . . . From the summit 
of this mountain to Lugo is nearly twelve leagues. 
There are several bridges upon the way, over glens 
and gills, which might have impeded the pursuit, had 
they been destroyed. One, in particular, between 
Nogales and Manilas, is the most remarkable work of 
art between Corunna and Madrid. This bridge, which 
is called Puenta del Corzul, crosses a deep ravine. 
From its exceeding height, the narrowness of its lofty 
arches, and its form, which, as usual with the Spanish 
bridges, is straight, it might, at a little distance, be 
mistaken for an aqueduct. Several of those officers 
who knew the road, relied much upon the strength of 
this ravine, and the impossibility that the French 
could bring their guns over if the bridge were 
destroyed. Grevious as it was to think of destroying 
so grand a work, its destruction was attempted, but, 
as in most other instances, to no purpose; whether 
the pioneers performed their work too hastily, or 
because their implements had been abandoned on the 
way . . . The different divisions had been ordered to 
halt and collect at Lugo. Here the retreating army 
might have rested, had the destruction of the bridges 
been effected ; but this attempt had been so imper- 
fectly executed, that the French came in sight on the 
day following." On the 6th and 7th of January, 
some affairs of outposts took place, in which the 
French were repelled with a steadiness which excited 
the wonder of the British themselves. Sir John 
wished to bring the enemy to action ; but failing in 
this, he ordered large fires to be lighted along the 

202 SPAIN. 

line for the purpose of deceiving the French, and 
during the night continued the retreat to Corunna, 
which they reached on the llth, without further 
molestation. What followed is well known. The 
battle of Corunna took place on the 16th. Never was 
a victory achieved under heavier disadvantages. The 
French force exceeded 20,000; the British were not 
15,000 ; their superiority in artillery was equally 
great; the moral and physical state of the retreating 
army was a still greater disadvantage. From 6 to 
7000 men, had sunk under the fatigues of the retreat ; 
the loss of the British in the battle did not amount to 
800, while that of the French is believed to have 
exceeded 2,000. Sir John Moore lived to hear that 
the battle was won. At midnight, the body was 
removed to the citadel of Corunna, and buried on the 
ramparts. Nearly the whole army was embarked 
during the night, and soon after daylight the rear- 
guard got into the boats, the French light troops 
witnessing the embarkation from the heights of San 
Lucia, but not attempting to interrupt them. The 
victory was dearly purchased, but it redeemed the 
honour of England.* 

* Southey's Peninsular War, vol. i. pp. 786806. It does not 
fall within the design of this work to enter into military details. A 
very interesting and affecting account of the retreat and the battle 
of Corunna will be found in the " Personal Narrative of a Private 
Soldier in the 42d Highlanders." 12mo, 1821. The burial of Sir 
John Moore has been described in " verse that cannot die," by a 
collateral descendant of General Wolfe. 

" Not a drum was heard, not a funeral note, 

As his corse to the rampart we hurried ,- 

Not a soldier discharged his farewell shot 

O'er the grave where our hero we buried. 
' We buried him darkly at dead of night, 
The sods with our bayonets turning, 

SPAIN. 203 

Coruna (improperly written Corunna, and by the 
French Corogna) is situated on a peninsula at the 
entrance of the bay on the north-west coast, which 
runs into the land as far as Betanzos. It is divided 
into the upper and lower towns. The former is 
situated on a declivity, surrounded with walls, and 
defended by a citadel. Its streets are narrow and ill- 
paved. The old or lower town, called Pexaria, 
stands upon a small tongue of land, and here the 
streets are broader. Nothing is carried on in the 
lower town but foreign trade. Dr. Southey says : 
" The town is admirably paved, but its filth is asto- 
nishing. Other places attract the eye of a traveller, 
but Corunna takes his attention by the nose. The 
market-place is very good, and its fountain is orna- 
mented with a squab-faced figure of Fame. Some of 
the houses in one of the back streets have little 
gardens, which is very unusual in Spain. The 
churches exhibit some curious specimens of Moorish 
architecture." There are four parish-churches, six 
chapels, four convents, and a population, according to 
Laborde, of 4,000 persons, exclusive of the garrison 
and occasional inhabitants. The numbers must, in 
fact, be perpetually fluctuating. Formerly, a packet 
used to sail every month from this port for the 

By the struggling moonbeam's misty light, 

And the lantern dimly burning." 

When the Marquis Romana arrived at Corunna in the following 
June, after Soult had been compelled to evacuate Galicia, lie 
erected a monument there with this inscription : 





" Grateful Spain to the glory of the English General and his valiant 

204 SPAIN. 

Havannah, and once every two months for South 
America. Intercourse between England and Spain 
is kept up chiefly by packets between this port and 
Falmouth. The opening of the trade to America 
produced a great increase in that of Corunna. 

The light-house, situated on a high point, about 
three miles from the harbour, is discerned at sea for 
sixty miles round. This ancient structure is called 
the Tower of Hercules; and the tradition is, that 
Hercules built it, and placed in it a mirror so con- 
structed by his art magical, that all vessels in that 
sea, at whatever distance, might be beheld in it. A 
Roman inscription near the tower, however, dedicatory 
to Mars, affords pretty strong proof that the work is 
Roman, and, it is supposed, of the era of Trajan. In 
after ages, it was used as a fortress, and thus the 
winding ascent on the outside, which was wide enough 
for a carriage, was destroyed. In this ruinous state 
it 'remained till the close of the seventeenth century, 
when the English and Dutch consuls resident at 
Corunna, presented a memorial to the duke of Uceda, 
then captain-general of Galicia, representing the 
benefit that would accrue to the port if this tower 
were converted into a light-house, and proposing to 
raise a fund for defraying the expenses by a duty on 
all their ships entering the harbour. In consequence 
of this, a wooden staircase was erected within the 
building, and two turrets for the fires were added to 
the summit. A more complete repair was begun in 
the reign of Charles III., and completed in that of his 
successor. The tower is ninety-two feet high, the 
walls four feet and a half thick ; and Humboldt says, 
that its construction clearly proves it to be Roman, 
though he is willing to suppose that it may have been 

SPAIN. 205 

built on the ruins of a Greek or Phenician edifice.* 
It is also known by the appellation of the Iron Tower ; 
and from it, the town itself is supposed to derive its 
modern name. It was the Brigantium of the Romans ; 
and is first called Villa da Cruna by Fernando II., 
about the close of the twelfth century. Cruna in the 
Galician, and Corunna in the Castilian dialect, are, 
according to Flores, corruptions of Columna : and 
though there seems to be some difference between a 
column and a tower, we must accept this etymology 
for wanfc of a better.f 

Between nine and ten leagues (by land) from 
Corunna, in the same bay, is the important harbour of 
Ferrol, one of the best, in point of depth, capacity, 
and safety, in Europe. Prior to the year 1752, it was 
only a fishing hamlet, frequented by coasting vessels ; 
but the advantages of its situation having been ascer- 
tained by the Government, it has since been made the 
chief naval station of Spain. Dock-yards and arsenals 
have been established here, and a town built, the 
resident population of which has been estimated at 
10,000, and in time of war is much greater. Its 
position renders it extremely strong ; for, to approach 
it from the sea, vessels must advance one by one in a 
narrow, tortuous channel, commanded by forts, and 

* Pers. Nar. vol. i. p. 25. Strabo affirms that the country of the 
Callaici (Galicia) had been peopled by Greek colonies ; and a very 
ancient tradition states, that the companions of Hercules had set- 
tled in these countries. Both the Phenicians and the Greeks visited 
this coast to trade for tin, which they drew from this country as 
well as from the Cassiterides. In the granitic ridges which stretch 
as far as Cape Ortegal, the common tin ore is discovered, which is 
worked by the inhabitants of Galicia. 

t Southey's Letters, vol. i. p. 23. One author, however, derives 
it from the Celtic coryn or corun, a tongue of land. If there be 
such a word in Celtic, with this meaning, it would leave no doubt 
on the subject. 

206 SPAIN. 

which might even be shut by a stoccado;* while, on 
the land side, it is protected as well by its distance 
from any point of landing, as by the strength of its 
fortifications. The basin in which the ships are laid 
up is of great extent, and every ship has its own 
warehouse. The presidiario is composed of 600 galley- 
slaves, who are employed in the most laborious works 
of the harbour. As the port is intended only for the 
royal navy, general commerce and all foreign merchant- 
ships are excluded. All the establishments are naval. 
The marine barracks are a vast and handsome build- 
ing, affording accommodation for 6000 men ; there is 
also an academy for the guardas marinas, a mathe- 
matical, and a nautical school. As the ports of Ferrol 
and Corunna communicate with the same bay, a vessel 
driven by bad weather on this coast, may anchor in 
either, according to the wind. This advantage is 
invaluable, where the sea is almost always tempes- 
tuous, as it is between Capes Ortegal and Finis- 
terre, the promontories Trileucum and Artabrum of 
ancient geography .f Ferrol is reckoned ten leagues 
from the former ; and the observatory of the admiralty 
there, is, according to Humboldt, 10' 20" E. of the 
Tower of Hercules at Corunna and 42' 21" W. of 

The route we have been pursuing is, as far as Lugo, 
one of the high roads to Compostella. Both Villa 
Franca, which is the frontier town of Galicia, and 
Ponferrada, situated at the confluence of the Sil and 

* Humboldt supposes, that this singular channel has been opened 
either by the irruption of the waves, or by the reiterated shocks of 
violent earthquakes. The Laguna del Obispo (bishop's lake), on 
the coast of 'Cumana, is formed exactly like the port of Ferrol. 

+ Cabo Finisterra is obviously Finis Terra, Land's End. Cabo 
Ortegal is said to be a corruption ofNort-de-Galicia. 

SPAIN. 207 

the Bueza, owe their origin to the great resort of pil- 
grims to Santiago, especially from France, insomuch 
that this road was called El Camino Frances, the 
French road. Osmundo, bishop of Astorga from 
A.D. 1082 to 1096, built a bridge over the Sil for their 
accommodation, which was called at first Puente de 
Quintanilla, and afterwards Ponsferrata. Thence 
grew up the town, which belonged to the Templars, 
who fortified it. The castle is a fine object, " great 
and grotesque." There are three parish-churches, 
two monasteries, and a nunnery. Villa Franca (Villa 
Francorum) has grown up round the church and con- 
vent of some monks of Cluni, who settled here in the 
reign of Alfonso VI., to administer the sacrament to 
a few French settlers, and to travellers of that nation. 
It is now inhabited by some good families, gives title 
to a marquis, and contains three nunneries and a 
Franciscan monastery: it had formerly a college of 
Jesuits. 'On approaching the town, it has a beautiful 
appearance, but the interior is mean and dirty. There 
is an old palace of the duke of Alba, " as mean and 
melancholy as a parish workhouse in England." Lugo 
(16J leagues from Villa Franca, and 13 from Com- 
postella) is a very ancient town, the Lucus Augusti 
of the Romans, and an episcopal see. It is situated 
on an eminence near the banks of the Mino, thirteen 
leagues from its source, and is supposed to contain be- 
tween 5 and 6000 inhabitants. Its appearance in 1796 
is thus described by Dr. Southey. 

" Lugo is surrounded by a wall, with circular towers 
projecting at equal distances. There is a walk on the 
top, without any fence on either side, in width ten 
feet, and, where the towers project, twenty. Time 
has destroyed the cement. The ruins are in many 
parts covered with ivy, and the periwinkle is in blos- 

PAS.T iv. o 

208 SPAIN. 

som round the wall. I saw doors leading from the 
city into the walls, and many wretched hovels are 
built under them without, mere shells of habitations, 
made with stones from the ruins, and to which the 
wall itself serves as the back. One of the round 
towers projects into the passage of our posada, which 
winds round it. These walls were the work of the 
Romans, and, like all their works, seem to have been 
built for eternity. They form an irregular circle. 
The towers and turrets were eighty-six in number ; 
one has disappeared, it is not known when or where, 
having probably been taken down to make room and 
supply materials for a dwelling-house ; one fell down 
last winter (1794), and others will probably soon come 
to the ground in like manner, unless speedy care be 
taken to repair them. They are at unequal distances, 
in some places only half a cross-bow shot apart ; 
and what is remarkable, they are built on the wall, 
not in it, so that the strength of the wall is every 
where the same. Each tower was raised two stories, 
that is, had three habitable rooms, one on a level with 
the wall, two above it ; the marks of the chimneys 
may still be seen ; the windows are arched, and frag- 
ments of the thick white glass with which they were 
glazed, are often discovered. Some have conjectured 
that the city was called Lucus, either from the dazzling 
reflection of the sun upon these windows, or from the 
illumination which all these towers presented at night, 
when they were inhabited; but this is a groundless 
etymology, for the name existed long before the glass 
windows. All the towers are round, except a few 
which are of later date ; some of these were built in 
the reign of Alfonso XI., by the Infante Don Felipe, 
and are inferior to the Roman ones. The height of 
the walls is not in all places alike ; in some places it 

SPAIN. 209 

is more than five-and-tbirty feet. The moat is choked 
up. Notwithstanding the want of a parapet, this is 
the favourite walk of the inhabitants; the circuit is 
half an hour's walk at a good pace. They are proud 
of it, and say that two carriages a-breast may drive 
round: two of the Galician carts might, perhaps; but 
even if there were a coach road to the top, I think 
few charioteers would be adventurous enough to use it. 
" Many curious antiquities have been destroyed 
here, especially by the masons. A statue is remem- 
bered of an armed nymph, holding the shield on one 
arm, and in the other hand a few spikes of corn, 
the manner in which Spain is represented on a coin 
of Galba. One remarkable inscription is still pre- 




vv. ss. 

" The goddess Ccelestis was worshipped in the 
African provinces, and especially at Carthage, where, 
according to Herodian, her image is said to have been 
brought by Dido. Ulpian enumerates her among 
the deities to whom property might lawfully be be- 

" The baths which the Romans made here are used 
at this day as medicinal, and the works which they 
formed to protect them against the Minho in its floods, 
may still be traced. The water is strongly impreg- 
nated with sulphur. Morales noticed a singular cir- 
cumstance here. There is a spring of very cold and 
clear water near these baths, at which other birds 

210 SPAIN. 

drink and wash themselves, but the pigeons all go to 
the warm sulphureous stream. 

" Lugo is the first place out of Asturias which was 
recovered by the Spaniards. Alonso el Cat61ico re- 
conquered it, and restored its bishopric within twenty 
years after the Moorish conquest. At present, it is 
what we should call a wretched place. Its massy walls, 
whose ruinous state is not visible at a little distance, 
and the towers of the cathedral, led me, as I ap- 
proached, to expect something more correspondent to 
the English idea of a city. The streets are narrow, 
dirty, and dark ; the houses high and gloomy : they 
lessen the little light which the narrowness of the 
streets allows, by the old wooden lattices of the bal- 
conies. The prison is a very singular building. 

" The cathedral presents little that is remarkable. 
The two towers in the front seem to have been in- 
tended to be carried higher ; but they are now roofed 
with slates in an execrable taste which seems to be 
common here, and which I have seen exhibited upon 
old pigeon-houses in England. The chapel of the 
Virgin displays much elegance. Some of the pillars 
are Saxon. The front has been modernised in a bad 
and inappropriate taste. 

" This church enjoys a remarkable privilege, and, 
in the opinion of Catholics, a highly important one. 
The wafer is always exposed, that is, the doors of 
the Sagrario in which it is kept, are glazed, so that 
the pix is seen. Many reasons have been assigned for 
this : among others, that it was granted because the 
doctrine of the real presence was established in a 
council which was held here, in opposition to a 
heresy then prevalent in Galicia. The same privilege 
exists in the royal convent of San Isidro at Leon, but 

SPAIN. 211 

no traces of its origin are to be found among the 
archives of either church." 

Of the far-famed archiepiscopal city of San Jago de 
Compostella, the capital of Galicia, from which the 
knights of San Jago (Santiago) take their title, we 
have nothing better to offer than the meagre account 
furnished by Laborde, who tells us, that it is situated 
on a peninsula formed by the rivers Tambra and Ulla ; 
that it is built on a hill, at the foot of which runs the 
little river Saria ; that the climate is humid, it rains 
there nearly two-thirds of the year; that there are, 
oesides the cathedral, four parish-churches within the 
city, eight in the suburbs, six convents, a university 
founded in 1522, four colleges, four hospitals, and a 
population of nearly 12,000 inhabitants. The cathe- 
dral, which boasts of containing the body of the apostle 
James, the tutelar saint of the Peninsula, is a heavy 
building of Gothic architecture. The treasury was, 
and probably still is, very rich : sovereigns and pon- 
tiffs have contributed to augment it. There are 
twenty-three chapels. In that of St. James is a statue 
of the saint, two feet high, of massive gold. About 
2,000 wax tapers are lighted in this chapel every night. 
Massive silver, diamonds, and precious stones adorn the 
shrines in which the sacred relics are deposited, in daz- 
zling profusion. But this sacred raree-show has had 
its day ; and whether Saint James has lost any of his 
popularity or not in Spain, the road to Compostella 
is no longer thronged with pilgrims as in days of yore. 

Between fourteen and fifteen leagues S. E. of San- 
tiago is the episcopal city of Orense (Auria), the 
Aquae CalidtK of the Romans, so named from the hot 
springs, for which it was resorted to in those ancient 
times. It is situated at the foot of a mountain on the 
left bank of the Mino, below the confluence of the 

212 SPAIN. 

Sil. The city is small, containing only one parish- 
church besides the cathedral, two monasteries, and 
two chapels. The population is estimated at 2,300 
persons. The hot springs are said to affect, by their 
vapours, the temperature of that part of the town which 
is next the plain. Galicia abounds with mineral 
springs of different temperature. In the Comarca de 
Lemos, there is a spring on the mountain of Cebret, 
near the source of the river Loriz or Lours, and twenty 
leagues from the sea, which is said to ebb and flow, 
and to become warm or cold alternately, the tempera- 
ture increasing as it becomes more copious. The 
bridge of Orense is a remarkable one : " it is of one 
arch, and that is so high that a ship can pass under 
it." Several roads proceed from the maritime towns 
on the western coast, which all meet at Orense, where 
they join the royal road to Madrid, which crosses the 
kingdom of Leon. The road from Orense to Tuy, 
thirteen leagues, follows the course of the Mino, which 
here forms the boundary of Portugal, passing through 
Ribadavia, a little town situated at the confluence of 
the Avia and the Mino. Not far from the mouth of 
the latter river, and opposite the Portuguese town of 
Valencia, is situated the frontier town of Tuy, the 
ancient Castellum. It is an episcopal city, and has a 
garrison, but the only trade is contraband, and the 
population is estimated at less than 4,000 persons. 
Some coarse linens are made here. The Spanish and 
the Portuguese towns occupy opposite heights, within 
cannon-shot of each other. The governor of the pro- 
vince of Tuy resides at Vigo, distant three leagues 
across the mountains, but which can be travelled only 
by horses. The town is built on a rock, in one of the 
largest and safest bays in the Peninsula : the harbour 
is said to be excellent, but is little frequented, the only 

SPAIN. 213 

commerce being a coasting-trade, which is in the hands 
of the Catalans. The population is about 2,500, of 
which, as there are three parish-churches and two 
convents, the clergy must form a large proportion; 
but there are some small manufactories of hats, soap, 
and leather. The town is almost surrounded with 
lagoons, which do not add to the salubrity of the 

The distinguishing character of the Galicians has 
already been noticed. They are considered as a quiet, 
hospitable, simple, and industrious people, generally 
robust, large, and able to support fatigue, grave and 
sober, and proverbially trusty. It is calculated that, 
at certain seasons of the year, 60,000 Gallegos leave 
their native province to seek for work as reapers and 
labourers in different parts of Spain, especially in the 
two Castiles ; and about 30,000 go for the same pur- 
pose to Portugal. " In this respect," says Laborde, 
" the Galicians and the Asturians may be compared 
to the Auvergnats and Limousins, who go to Paris to 
earn money as labourers and porters, which they ac- 
cumulate by their savings to take home to their fami- 
lies." At Madrid and other considerable towns, a great 
number of the servants are Galicians and Asturians, 
who are preferred for their fidelity and obedience. 
The porters and water-carriers in Andalusia, at 
Madrid, and even at Lisbon, are Galicians. Hence 
the haughty Castilian's contemptuous proverb : fie sido 
tratado como sifuera un Gallego I am treated as if I 
were a Galician. So much slower and less active are 
both the Castilian and the Portuguese peasants, that 
when the husbandmen are disappointed of the assist- 
ance of the Galician labourers, it is said that the har- 
vest and the vintages become worth comparatively 

214 SPAIN. 

little, owing to the bad manner in which they are 
got in. 

To complete our survey of the western provinces of 
Spain, it only remains to notice that of Estremadura, 
which is traversed by the route 


ESTREMADURA, with an extent of surface equal to 
Aragon, and nearly equal to Galicia, did not contain, 
in 1787, much above two-thirds of the population of 
the former, and not one-third of that of the latter 
province.* It is one of the most neglected and depo- 
pulated parts of Spain. Under the Moors, it is said 
to have been a garden. The climate, Dr. Southey 
says, is most delightful.f The numerous rivers by 
which it is watered afford every facility for cultiva- 
tion and the soil is said to be generally good. It is 
now for the most part reduced to the lamentable state 
of rank pasturage. Scarcely any gardens or orchards 
are to be met with, and the wheat and rye grown are 
only sufficient for the scanty population. Immense 

* It is stated in the census of 1787 8 at nearly 417,000 souls, 
But the depopulation must have gone on prodigiously since then, 
if the estimate of the Abbe Ponz, on which both Di7 Southey and 
M. Bourgoing seem to rely, be an approximation to the truth. He 
makes it amount to only 100,000 inhabitants. 

t The British officer tells us, however, that the autumnal season 
in Estremadura is proverbially unhealthy, and that numbers of the 
inhabitants annually fall victims to the alarming fever which pre- 
vails in the dreaded month of September. " The unwholesome 
vapours which rise from the beds of the many stagnant pools scat- 
tered over the surface of the plains, and always dried up by thr 
summer heats, are said to produce this evil. Towards the end ol 
September (1809), this insidious enemy found its way into the 
British quarters, crowded our hospitals with sick, and filled the 
chapel-vaults with victims." Recollections of the Peninsula, p. 71. 

SPAIN. 215 

tracts may be traversed without seeing a settlement, a 
human habitation, an atom of cultivated land, or even 
a tree.* The pestilence of 1348 is assigned as one 
cause, and the original one, of this frightful depopu- 
lation. The expulsion of the Moors, in 1614, left a 
great many villages without inhabitants. Distant 
wars, during two centuries, drew off a considerable 
-number from this province as soldiers. The emigra- 
tion consequent on the discovery of America is said to 
have been greater, too, from Estremadura, than any 
other part of Spain. But, unquestionably, the depo- 
pulation of the province is attributable chiefly to the 
ruinous privileges of the Mesta, of which Bourgoing 
gives the following account. 

" The Mesta is a society of large proprietors of 
flocks, composed of the heads of rich monasteries, 
grandees of Spain, and opulent individuals, who find 
their advantage in feeding their sheep at the public 
expense at all seasons of the year, and who have sanc- 
tioned, by short-sighted regulations, a practice at first 
introduced by necessity. In distant times, the moun- 
tains of Soria and of Segovia, condemned by their 
precipices and the nature of their soil to eternal 
sterility, were, during the summer, the asylum of 
some of the neighbouring flocks : before the approach 
of winter, their temperature was no longer supportable 
by these delicate animals. They went in search of 
a milder climate in the neighbouring plains. Their 

" We travel leagues without seeing a village ; and when we 
find one, it consists of such sties as are fit only for the pig part of 
the family. As for the towns, it is not possible to give an English- 
man ideas of their extreme poverty and wretchedness. You may 
conceive of the state of the kingdom by this circumstance : we 
have now travelled 600 miles" (from Corunna to Madrid, and from 
Madrid to Truxillo) " without ever seeing one new house or on. 
single one." SOUTHEY'S Letters, vol. ii. p. 6. 
o 2 

216 SPAIN. 

possessors soon converted this convenience into a 
right, and formed a community, which, after some 
time, was increased by all those who, upon acquiring 
flocks, became desirous of enjoying the same preroga- 
tives. The theatre extended as the actors became 
more numerous, and the excursions of the flocks gra- 
dually stretched towards the plains of Estremadura, 
where they found a temperate climate and abundant 
pasture. The abuse at length became intolerable, but 
it was too deeply rooted to be easily overthrown, and 
all that was powerful in the kingdom was interested 
in its continuance. For more than a century, a con- 
stant struggle took place between the associates of 
the Mesta on the one hand, and the Estremenos, or 
inhabitants of Estremadura, on the other, the latter 
having on their side all those who felt an interest in 
the public good. 

" How, indeed, could they repress their indignation 
on seeing, in the month of October in each year, mil- 
lions of sheep descending from the mountains of Old 
Castile upon the plains of Estremadura and Anda- 
lusia, where they continued until the following May, 
feeding, both on their coming and returning, upon the 
fields of the inhabitants? The ordonnances of the 
Mesta fix a breadth of forty toises as a road through 
which they are to pass, while the pasturages kept on 
purpose for them are let at a very low rent, which 
the proprietors seek in vain to increase. Thus, the 
unfortunate province of Estremadura, which is about 
fifty leagues in length by forty in breadth, and which 
could provide subsistence for two millions of men, 
scarcely contains a hundred thousand inhabitants. 
Nor can it be doubted, that this depopulation must be 
ascribed to the scourge of the Mesta, since the pro- 
vinces which are not visited by these baneful privi- 

SPAIN. 217 

leges, such as Galicia, the Asturias, Biscay, and the 
mountainous parts of Burgos, are very populous. 

" As to t^e practice of making the sheep travel from 
place to pace, besides being rendered sacred by the 
laws and by long custom, it is excusable from the 
necessity of existing circumstances. Either they must 
diminish the number of sheep, or they must travel a 
little. Those which feed in the fine season upon the 
mountains of Soria, Cuenca, Segovia, and Buytrago, 
would die with hunger there in winter ; and where 
would they find a better asylum than Estremadura, 
a province thinly inhabited, poor in other respects, 
its pastures being its only resource ? I know well 
that this argument may be considered as begging the 
question, but Government has always held it to be 

In the mountains near Segovia, a great part oi 
the wandering flocks pasture during the summer 
season. They are seen descending in the course of 
October, along with the flocks from the mountains of 
the ancient Numantia (Soria), quitting those which 
separate the two Castiles, and, after passing through 
New Castile, dispersing themselves in the plains of 
Estremadura and Andalusia. Those which are nearer 
the Sierra Morena, pass the winter there. The length 
of their journeys is proportioned to the kind of pasture 
they obtain. They travel in flocks of 1000 or 1,200, 
under the guidance of two shepherds ; the chief shep- 
herd is called the Mayoral, the other the Zagal. When 
arrived at their destinations, they are distributed 
among the various pasturages assigned to them. They 
proceed on their route again in May ; and whether 
from custom or from instinct, they travel onward to 
the climate best adapted for them at that season : the 

218 SPAIN. 

uneasiness they seem to feel, indicates to their guides 
any necessity for a change of situation. 

" Each flock belongs to one master, called a Cavaria, 
and the whole produce from the wool of these flocks is 
called pila. The Cavanas bear the names of their 
proprietors. The most numerous are those of Bejar 
and Negretti, each of which consists of 60,000 sheep. 
That of the Escurial, the most famous, has 50,000. 
Prejudice or custom makes the wool of certain Cavanas 
more sought after than the others. At Guadalaxara, 
for instance, they employ no wool but that of Negretti, 
the Escurial, and the Carthusians of Paular. 

" Upon the return of the wandering sheep, towards 
the month of May, the shearing is commenced, an 
operation of great magnitude in Spain, because per- 
formed upon a large scale, in vast buildings called 
esquileos, arranged so as to receive whole flocks of 40, 
50, and even 60,000 sheep. The harvest and vintage 
have nothing so solemn in their celebration. It is a 
time of festivity for the proprietors as well as for the 
workmen ; the latter are divided into certain classes, 
and to each, a different branch of the operation is 
allotted : 125 persons are found requisite to shear 
1000 sheep. Every animal yields wool of three kinds, 
finer or coarser, according to the part of the body from 
which it is taken. When the shearing is finished, 
the produce is collected in bales, and carried either to 
the sea-port towns for exportation, without any other 
operation, or to certain places denominated washing- 
stations, in the environs of Segovia and throughout 
the rest of Castile." 

There are, however, both in Estremadura and in 
Old Castile, stationary flocks which never travel ; and 
their wool is affirmed to be fully equal to that of the 

SPAIN. 219 

trae-humantes, or wandering flocks. The numbers 
of these are continually varying. In the sixteenth 
century, they exceeded seven millions. In the reign 
of Philip III. (A.D. 1627), they were reduced to two 
millions and a half. Ustariz, who lived at the begin- 
ning of the eighteenth century, computed them at 
four millions. Mr. Townsend and M. Bourgoing 
state, that they were believed not to exceed five mil- 
lions towards the close of the last century. Some 
proprietors had only two or three thousand ; others, 
ten times that number ; the Duke del Infantado had 
40,000 ; the D.uke of Bejar, Marquis Perales, Countess 
Negretti, and the convents of Guadalupe, Paular, and 
Escurial, each 30,000. " If," says M. Bourgoing, 
" \ie add to this number, eight millions who are 
always stationary, we shall have an aggregate of 
thirteen millions of sheep conspiring against the pro- 
sperity of Spain for the advantage of a few individuals ; 
for the proprietors of the stationary flocks have privi- 
leges nearly similar to those of the members of the 
Mesta." The royal exchequer, however, not less 
than the great proprietors, is interested in the support 
of the system which encourages pasturage at the 
expense of agriculture, the taxes levied on wool 
forming an important branch of the revenue. In 
every point of view, the effects of the present system 
are baleful and pernicious. The pastoral life is com- 
patible only with the earliest state or the lowest stage 
of civilisation. The shepherd is but one degree above 
the hunter and back-woodsman. But, among the 
nomadic tribes who travel in families, the social 
instincts are often peculiarly strong, and there is 
abundant scope for all the charities and relative 
virtues. In Spain, the number of men employed in 
tending the wandering flocks is computed at 40,000, 

220 SPAIN 

who never marry, and must of necessity be condemned 
to the lowest moral condition.* 

Estremadura has always formed part of the king- 
dom of Leon, having been recovered from the Moors 
at the same time, and united with it to Castile on the 
union of the two crowns. It extends from Leon to 
An'Jaiusia ; having New Castile on the ast, and on 
the wevSt, the Portuguese provinces of Beira, Estre- 
madura, and Alentejo. Badajoz is the capital ; besides 
which it contains two other episcopal cities, Plasencia 
and Coria, and the cities of Merida, Truxillo, and 

In travelling from Madrid to Lisbon, no object of 
any interest occurs in the nineteen Spanish leagues 
over which the road lies te Talavera de la Reyna, 
the name of which is associated to an Englishman's 
ear with the proud recollection of the victory of July 

* For further remarks on the Mesta system, the merino sheep, 
the wool and manufactures of Spain, see Bourgoing, vol. i. chap. 3; 
Dillon's Travels, letters v. and vi. ; and Townsend, vol. ii. pp. 61 
and 235. " Independently of the merino flock," says the latter, 
" many of the great landlords have suffered villages to go to ruin, 
and have let their estates to graziers." It is not a little singular, 
that the merino flocks of Spain should have originated in the intro- 
duction of a few English sheep into the mountains of Sepovia, in 
the reign of the last Alfonso : they are said to have been a present 
from one of our kings, towards the middle of the fourteenth century 
Soon afterwards occurred the dreadful pestilences which, in 1348, 
is said to have swept off two-thirds of the inhabitants of Spain i and 
to this calamitous time is attributed the origin of the Mesta. This 
word had originally no other signification than a mixture of grain 
and seed ; and the reason of its first application to the merino flocks is 
unknown. Padre Sarmiento contends that the sheep were originally 
called marinas (not mcrinas), as being imported. The word merino 
has now come to signify a royal superintendent of the sheep-walks; 
and the merino mayor is always a person of rank appointed by the 
king. There is a supreme council at Madrid, called Contejo de 
Mesta. Merino is a word applied also to thick, curled hair, but whe- 
ther this be the primary or 3 secondary meaning, seems doubtful. 

SPAIN. 221 

28, 1809. This was once a flourishing town, famous 
for its manufactures of silk and porcelain. It is 
finely situated on the Tagus, in the midst of a 
beautiful plain, rich with verdure, and adorned with 
trees and gardens.* Laborde devotes nearly thirty 
pages to the description of this ancient place, (sup- 
posed to be the Talabrica of the Romans,) the sub- 
stance of which we shall give in as few words as pos- 
sible, since little is left to distinguish it in the eyes 
of travellers. Taken and retaken repeatedly by the 
Moors, Talavera has, from its situation, been parti- 
cularly exposed to the horrors of civil war, and has, 
in its history, generally shared the fate of Toledo. 
Vestiges of ancient ramparts are discoverable on the 
right bank of the Tagus, and other ruins, supposed to 
be Moorish. There is one arch so high that a house 
that is built in it reaches only three parts up. The 
Moorish town covered but a small part of the present 
enclosure. The modern town is very irregularly 
built, with low houses, and narrow and ill-paved 
streets ; it contains eight parish churches, eight 
monasteries, and five nunneries, which appear to 
have nothing about them remarkable. There are 
two handsome alamedas, which are but little fre- 
quented, the inhabitants being generally sunk in 
apathy and sloth, as in the days of their townsman 

Not a single village occurs for six leagues after 
leaving Talavera. The little town of Torralva then 
occurs, surrounded with olive -plantations. About 
two hours further, leaving on the left the town and 
castle of Oropesa, the traveller arrives at La Calzada 

* A wide and excellent road from Talavera leads to Cevolla, 
four leagues towards Toledo, which borders on the Tagu the 
whole way. 


de Oropesa, the last village in New Castile, and soon 
after enters Estremadura. Naval Moral, a wretched 
'/iliage, is the next place ; a distance of four leagues.. 
the first part over a" barren heath, the latter part 
through a country well wooded with evergreen oaks, 
and, near the village, well watered and picturesque. 
Another small village is all that occurs in the next 
two leagues to Almaraz, " a singular little town, 
where the houses seem built for pigmies and the 
churches for Patagonians," with the ruins of a castle 
on the left, small but picturesque. Three-quarters of a 
league further, the Tagus is crossed by a noble bridge 
of two arches, 580 feet long, and about 25 feet wide, 
built in 1552, which, in beauty and solidity, may be 
compared with the works of the Romans. One arch 
is 69 feet high and 150 wide ; the other C6 feet high, 
and 119 wade: it is called Puente de Almaraz.* In 
1808, the Spaniards, to prevent the enemy from gain- 
ing this passage, attempted to destroy the bridge ; 
but so firmly had this noble pile been built, that when 
the mine was fired, the explosion only injured it, 
without rendering it impassable. The rosd now lies 
over the mountain of Miravete ; it is a winding ascent 
of six miles to the summit, and was formerly one of 
the most difficult passes in the Peninsula. At four 
leagues from the Puente de Almaraz, the traveller 
passes through the ancient and decayed town of 
Xaraiceyo, and crosses the Alamonte by a bridge of 
nine arches. A circuitous and nigged track through 
woods notorious for robbers, brings the traveller, at 
the end of five leagues more, to Truxillo, the birth- 

There are four bridges between Talavera and the confluence 
of the Tietar with the Tagus ; the Puente del Arzobispo (the arch- 
bishop's bridge), the Puente del Conde (the count's), the Puente dt 
Mnvtraz, and the Pwnte <M Cardinal. . 

SPAIN, 223 

place of Francisco Pizarro, the conqueror of Peru. 
This is an ancient town, and must once have been a 
place of considerable strength. Julius Caesai is said 
to have built the castle ; and the name of the town is 
probably a corruption of Turris Julia : it is supposed 
to be the Castra Julia of Pliny. It is now in a state 
of great decay, and contains not above 4000 persons. 
Like most of the ancient towns, it is ill-built, and the 
streets are crooked, narrow, and filthy, but it has a 
handsome plaza. Five churches, four monasteries, 
and four nunneries make up its complement of eccle- 
siastical establishments. The British Officer, who 
marched through Truxillo in 1812, describes it as still 
looking nobly in the distance ; " and ere you reach 
the walls, you imagine you are about to enter a mag- 
nificent city. On a hill above it stand the solid 
remains of the castle, said by the priests to have been 
built by Julius Caesar. The tottering walls of some 
later works adjoining it, shew that it has, since those 
days, been a station of the Moors. The decay of 
trade gave the first blow to the prosperity of this once 
rich and flourishing commercial city ; and the French, 
in a three months' residence, completed its destruction. 
Of seventeen palaces, only two remain inhabited ; and 
five hundred houses, empty, deserted, and fast falling 
to decay, only remind you of what it once was. In 
the square stands a large, noble-looking mansion, 
once the residence of the family of Pizarro, and built, 
probably, out of the rich spoils of injured Peru. The 
sculpture and relief which adorn the front of this 
building, tell with fidelity the tale of the founder, 
but in a manner very revolting to the feelings of 
an Englishman. Peruvians, kneeling and prostrate, 
in all the attitudes of terror and supplication, their 
wr?ts and ancles bound by manacles and fetters, the 

224 SPAIN. 

chains of which appear to weigh them down, are every 
where represented in stone work. The origin of this 
enterprising and intrepid soldier, but merciless con- 
queror, is yet more extraordinary than that of Cortes. 
Iii a wood under the walls of this very city, of which 
he was afterwards the most wealthy and distinguished 
noble, he, when a boy, tended swine, and followed for 
years that mean and humble occupation." The road 
now ascends the mountains for three leagues to the 
Puerto de Santa Cruz,* and then descending towards 
the basin of the Guadiana, leads, at the end of thir- 
teen leagues from Truxillo. to 


To the classical antiquary, this is one of the most 
interesting cities in Spain. Merida, the ancient 
Emerita Augusta^ was once the capital of Lusitania, 
and a metropolitan city. It was built by Augustus, 
as a colony for the soldiers who had served in the war 
against the Cantabrians ; and is said to have been the 
largest Roman city in the Peninsula, its circum- 
ference being not less than eight miles : some old 
writers say, six leagues. It was besieged and taken, 
in 713, by the Moors, to whom is attributed the 
destruction of many of the ancient monuments. It 
remained in their possession till 1230, when Alfonso 
IX. retook it, after a decisive victory over a superior 
Moorish force ; since which period it has always been 
attached to the kingdom of Castile and Leon. Under 
the Gothic kings, it was the see of an archbishop, 
which was removed to Compostella in the reign of 
Alfonso VII., while the city was in possession of the 

* At Miajadas, a village three leagues beyond the puerto, are 
ruins of a castle and of a noble church ; and Dr. Southey y, 
" the king has a palace there." Laborde does not mention it. 

SPAIN. 225 

Moors. On being recovered by Alfonso IX. it was 
given to the military order of Santiago, to whom it 
still belongs. The population, at the beginning of 
the present century, did not amount to 5000 souls. 
We find the best description of this interesting spot 
in the " Recollections of the Peninsula." 

" On entering Merida" (from the Perales side), 
" you pass the Guadiana by a handsome stone bridge* 
of Roman architecture, and in the highest state of 
preservation ; above it, on ground the most elevated 
in the city, stands a Roman castle, -f- the venerable 
walls of which, though rough and discoloured, or 
rather, coloured by the touch of time, appear secure 
and undecayed. These antiquities of themselves 
would have well rewarded our visit, for the design of 
them had probably been given by some celebrated 
Roman architect eighteen centuries before ; and con- 
quered Spaniards, from whose hands the shield and 
the sword, so long but so vainly opposed to their 
invaders, had been reluctantly dropped, were em . 
ployed, perhaps, in raising these monuments of the 
greatness, the power, and the genius of their victors. 
Such was the policy of the Romans : they always 
thus, by the erection of public works of magnificence 
and utility, while they recorded their own triumphs, 
gilt over the very chains they imposed, and made 
their provincial subjects feel proud even of dependency. 
Merida had its amphitheatre, its naumachia, its baths, 
ifs triumphal arches, its temples, and votive altars. 

* " This bridge has sixty-four arches, and is 1000 yards in 
length. The antiquary will learn with sorrow, that two arches of 
tfcia old bridge were, in the spring of 1812, blown up by the British 
in the course of their military operations in the province of Estre- 

t " This castle was of great extent, the central area being two 
hundred yards square." 

226 SPAIN. 

In a plain near the city are very grand and striking 
remains of the amphitheatre.* Its form, except in 
height, is still preserved ; the seats appear quite 
perfect ; the vaulted dens where the beasts were 
confined, and which open on the arena, are uninjured, 
and their arched roofs are strong as ever ; the whole 
building is of stone, and the Roman cement used in 
its construction, is as hard, and seems to have been 
as durable, as the stone itself. Not very distant, you 
distinctly trace the naumachia ; -j- and the low stone 
channel or conductor, by which the hollow space or 
basin was filled with water, may still be seen. 
Crowded on the seats of this amphitheatre, or 
pressing round the sides of the naumachia, you may 
still fancy the haughty legionaries and the wondering 
Spaniards, gazing on the magnificent exhibitions of 
those splendid ages. As you pass from this scene 
towards the town, you are struck with the lofty and 
picturesque ruins of two aqueducts,:}: one erected by 
the Romans, the other built by the Moors. I defy 
any man of common education and feeling to look 
upon such memorials of other days unmoved. 

" In one of the streets of Merida may be seen a 
large and lofty arch, said to be a triumphal one, 
erected in honour of Trajan. It bears, however, no 
inscription, nor is it in any way adorned with sculp- 

" This amphitheatre has two tiers of seats, seven rows in the 
lower, five in the upper. Its diameter is fifty paces ; and it is 
capable of holding with ease more than 2000 spectators." 

t " The basin of this naumachia is one hundred paces by sixty, 
its form oval, its depth twenty feet in the centre, and the banks 
for the spectators rise about twenty feet above its sides." 

t " The Roman aqueduct has three tiers of arches, the Moorish 
only two." 

" This arch is fifty feet in height, and the base and sides of 
are exceedingly thick." 

SPAIN. 227 

ture or relief; it has, nevertheless, the true Roman 
character ; it is handsome in its proportions, and 
solid in its construction : very large massive stones, 
arranged with the most just and admirable skill, and 
put together without cement, compose this still perfect 
work. In another part of the city, three votive altars 
have been raised one above the other, and form a sort 
of pillar, on the top of which some goodand devout 
fathers have very provokingly placed the clumsy image 
of a saint. Strange revolution ! that altars sculptured 
and adorned by the hands of heathens and idolaters, 
should now form a column to elevate a statue for 
Christian adoration ! Near this place, two small 
chapels have been built out of the materials, and upon 
the sites of Roman temples : one of these, now 
dedicated to the Virgin, has the following inscription, 
in large Roman characters, immediately above the 
entrance ' Marti Sacrum.' 

" The baths are surprisingly perfect, but not large, 
though they have evidently been very handsome. 
You descend to them by a long flight of stone steps. 
The subterraneous chambers are gloomy and not 
spacious, but extremely cool ; the basins still contain 
water, supplied by some spring, but they are foul 
from neglect and disuse. These bathing-rooms are 
lighted from the top of the building, which just above 
the water is open. A cornice runs round these rooms, 
most curiously and delicately finished, and the vine 
leaves and bunches of grapes thus represented, appear 
as perfect as if they had not been executed many years. 
There are, doubtless, more vestiges of Roman sculpture 
and masonry scattered and lost in the materials with 
which several of the private houses in and about 
Merida have been erected ; and the foundatiozi of 
many an old building, and the bed of many a garden, 

228 SPAIN. 

would well reward the search and labour of aft 
antiquary. The remains which I have noticed, are 
all that the eager traveller can now discover ; they 
are, however, sufficient in number, and interesting 
enough in character, to throw a sacred and inde- 
scribable charm around this small but venerable 
city." * 

Two roads lead from Merida to Badajoz ; the 
one along the right bank of the Guadiana, through 
Puebla de la Calzada, so named from a Roman 
bridge and causeway over which this road passes. 
In the church of this village are said to be some fine 
paintings by Morales. The other road crosses the 
Guadiana by a very long bridge, and for three leagues 
lies over the fertile plain ; then, crossing a rocky hill, 
on which stands the ruined village of Lobon, it 
descends to Talavera le Real, commonly called Tala- 
veruela, " a large and miserable place ;" and in three 
leagues more> over an unpleasant country abandoned 
to pasturage,-}- leads to 


THIS is the frontier town of Spain on this side, as 
Elvas is that of Portugal, and it is therefore strongly 
fortified. It stands in the plain on the banks of the 
Guadiana ; but the ancient town was situated on 

Mr. Semple says, that the walls of Merida " formerly extended 
further into the river, as great masses of ruins in its bed sufficiently 
testify." The Guadiana is continually wearing away its banks 
3nd forming jew islands : owing to the nature of the soil, the bed 
is wile and irregular, with banks of sand and gravel in the 

t Between Lobon and Badajoz, the road crosses the GTiadaxira, 
* torrent dangerous in the rainy season, the Lentrin, and the 

Si>AIX. 229 

higher ground, where the castle now stands, on 
which site are some deserted churches and ruins in 
both the Roman' and Moorish styles. It has been 
supposed to be the Pax Augusta of Strabo, corrupted 
by the MOOTS into Baxaugus Badajoz ; but " the 
incontestible evidence of Roman inscriptions places 
that city, which is proved to be the same as Pax Julia, 
at Beja." Another suppose^ etymology derives it 
from Beledaix (belled hejaz), the name said to have 
been given it by the Moors ; but why it should be 
termed holy land, does not appear. In 1660, Badajoz 
withstood a siege from the Portuguese ; and in 1705, 
from the combined troops of England and Portugal ; 
but in 1812, Lord Wellington took the city bv 

" It was not without a feeling of deep and mournful 
interest," says the Officer to whose recollections the 
reader is already indebted, " that on the evening I 
halted at Badajoz, I walked round the walls of that 
dearly-purchased fortress. The works were rapidly 
repairing ; but the town presented a wretched appear- 
ance, most of the loftier buildings, and all those near 
the breaches, having been destroyed by the fire of our 
batteries. The murderous assault of the 6th of April 
must have been dreadful to look upon. At the main 
breach alone, upwards of 2,000 men are said to have 
fallen ; and at this point, not one soul penetrated 
into the town. Some of our officers who were wounded 
and taken on the breach, and carried through it, 
represented it as provided with defences through which 
the most intrepid soldiers could never have forced their 
way. A ditch, cutting it off from the body of the 
place, a breast-work, and strong chevaux-de-frize of 
sword-blades, were the obstacles opposed to us ; and to 
these must be added a heavy and incessant fire of 

230 SPAIN. 

musketry. The escalade at the castle was a fine bold 
effort, and was eminently successful. Some outworks, 
also, were carried at the bayonet's point in a gallant 
style: and the division which penetrated into the 
town by the bastion of San Vicente deserves uncom- 
mon credit. I leant long and silently over the parapet 
at that angle by which it ascended. As I was passing 
a large church, I heard the sound of hammers and 
anvils, and, on entering, I found that this handsome 
building had been converted by the French during the 
siege into a workshop ; by us, it had still been applied 
to the same purpose, and there blacksmiths, armourers, 
and carpenters were now busily occupied in their noisy 

Badajoz is 64 leagues (Spanish) from Madrid, 33 
leagues from Lisbon, 57 from Salamanca, and 34 frora 
Seville. On leaving the city by the gate of Las 
Palmas, there is a fine bridge of 28 arches, 1,874 
feet in length, over the Guadiana, built in 1596.-f- 
About a league and a half further, the traveller fords 
the Caya, a rivulet which falls into the Guadiana, 
and finds himself in PortugaL It is the Tweed of the 

The feelings of the traveller on crossing the frontier, 

* Recollections of the Peninsula, p. 187- Laborde says : " The 
cathedral church is the only edifice that is tolerable." There was 
only one manufactory in the town, and that had been recently 
established by a Frenchman, for hats. He states the population 
at between 14 and 15,000. 

f The Guadiana (Wady Ana) is properly the Ana or Anas. 
' Florez, after Bochart, derives Anas from the Phenician, in 
which yanas is to conceal one's self and re-appear, to dive, as 
hanasa is in Arabic. This is probably the origin of the Latin 
word ; but did not the Romans mean to call this river the Duck, 
just as we have our Mote?" SOUTHS v's Letters, voL ii. p. 22. See 

SPAIN. 231 

vary not alTtfle according to the direction he is pur. 
suing. Dr. Southey, in his early Letters, speaks of his 
glad feeling at having " escaped from Spain." Mr. 
Semple describes in similar terms the sensations with 
which his party galloped across the shallow stream, 
glad to turn their backs on Portugal,- and eager to be 
the first to set foot on the Spanish territory. The 
British Officer, who also entered Spain from Portugal, 
says : " It is in the market-place and the streets of 
Badajoz, that the stranger soon discovers that he is 
among another people, and, were it not for the dust 
of Portugal still covering his dress, he might almost 
judge, in a remote kingdom. A chain of mountains, 
or a spacious channel, could hardly prepare him for a 
greater change. Features, carriage, costume, lan- 
guage, and manners, all proclaim a distinct race. The 
style of building, too, differs ; fewer windows front 
the streets, and most of these are grated. The market- 
place of Badajoz, which, at the time I saw it, was 
crowded with strangers, had all the appearance of a 
picturesque and well-arranged masquerade. The dif- 
ferent modes of dress, ancient, and not liable to daily 
changes, are, no doubt, the same they were four 
centuries ago. 

" The Estremaduran himself has a brown jacket 
without a collar, and with sleeves which lace at the 
shoulder, so that they are removed at pleasure. The 
red sash is universally worn, and a cloak is generally 
carried on the left arm. A jacket and waistcoat pro - 
fusely ornamented with silk lace and buttons of silver 
filigree, the hair clubbed and tied with broad black 
ribbon, and a neat cap of cloth, or velvet, mark the 
Andalusian. The ass-driver of Cordova is clothed in a 
complete dresc of the tawny brown leather of his native 
rovince. The lemonade-seller of Valencia has a linen 


232 SPAIN. 

shirt open at the neck, a fancy waistcoat without sleeves, 
a kilt of white cotton, white stockings rising to the 
calf, and sandals. Muleteers, with their broad body- 
belts of buff leather, their capitans, or train-masters, 
with the ancient cartridge-belts and the old Spanish 
gun, were mingled in these groupes. Here, too, were 
many officers and soldiers of the patriot armies, which, 
raised in haste, were not regularly or uniformly 
clothed, if I except some of the old standing force. 
Of these, you might see the royal carabineer, with 
the cocked hat, blue coat faced with red, and, instead 
of boots, the ancient greaves, of thick, hard, black 
leather, laced at the sides ; the dragoon, in a uniform 
of yellow, black belts, and a helmet with a cone of 
brass ; the royal or Walloon guards, in their neat 
dress of blue and red, with white lace ; the common 
soldier in brown. Mingled with these was the light- 
horseman, in a hussar jacket of brown, and over -alls 
caped, lined, and vandyked at the bottom with tan 
leather ; here, again, a peasant with the cap and coat 
of a soldier ; there, a soldier from Navarre or Aragon, 
with the bare foot and the light hempen sandal of his 

" The Spaniard," says Mr. Semple, " is more de- 
termined than the Portuguese in his gait and manners. 
His cloak, thrown over his shoulders, gives him some- 
thing of the air of a man of courage, while the same 
costume, with the Portuguese manners, gives only the 
look of an assassin. But if we notice the difference 
between the men, it is still more apparent in the 
women of the two countries. The air, the dress, the 
walk of the Spanish ladies are not only superior to 
those of their neighbours, but, perhaps, of any Euro- 
pean nation. The lower part of their dress is black, 
with deep fringes ; the upper consists simply of a 

SPAIN. 9 33 

white mualin veil, falling down on each side of the 
head, and crossing over the basem. They walk with 
freedom ; their eyes are dark and expressive ; and 
their whole countenances have that bewitching air 
which an Englishman likes well enough to see in any 
woman except his wife, his sister, or the woman he 
truly loves and respects." * 

Elvas, or Yelves, three leagues west of Badajoz, is 
situated on the summit of a steep hill commanding the 
plain of the Guadiana. " Portugal," says Mr. Semple, 
" seems to have exerted all her strength to render 
the fortifications of Elvas formidable, as if by this 
outward rind she would conceal the weakness of her 
interior. Exclusive of the situation and the fortifica- 
tions, the place itself has nothing worthy of notice 
except a Moorish aqueduct, in some parts of several 
rows of arches, which still conveys water to the town : 
it is in general not so well built as Estremoz. The 
out-fort of La Lippe^ which is deemed impregnable, is 
regarded as a chef-d'oeuvre in the art of fortification : 
it lies on a high hill to the north of the town. Elvas 
is an episcopal see, and contains a population of about 
16,000 souls. The country now becomes beautifully 
varied, and, in the course of the next six leagues to 
Estremoz, the different character of the country 
discovers itself: single farm-houses and quintas^ or 
country-seats, may be seen, with gardens attached to 
them in the English style. Villa Vi<josa, the royal 

* This Traveller remarks, that the contrast extends to the very 
roads. Those in Portugal are in a most neglected state ; " while 
no sooner have we passed the frontier, than we see them excellent 
from Badajoz to Madrid. The Portuguese do not scruple to avow 
their reason for thus not merely abandoning their roads towards 
Spain, but absolutely leading them over the most difficult and 
rocky ground. We do not wish,' say they, to make a road to 
Lisbon for the Spaniards.'" 

234 SPAIN. 

seat of Braganza, lies to the left. Estremoz has been 
a considerable place, and is reckoned one of the 
strongest towns in Portugal. King Denis had a palace 
here, and here his wife, queen St. Isabel, died. But 
since Elvas has been made impregnable, the fortifica- 
tions of Estremoz have been neglected, and the whole 
town bears marks of decay. It is partly situated on a 
high hill overlooking the Tarra, and partly in the 
valley. Fine marbles are found in the neighbour, 
hood, and the pottery is in great repute. The popula- 
tion is estimated at 6,500. The town is said to derive 
its name from a species* of pulse called Tremofos, which 
grew in great abundance when the first settlers esta- 
blished themselves. The termo (district) is very fertile, 
and is stated to contain no fewer than 800 springs of 
good water. The country all round affords many 
views of deep valleys, and glens, and mountains 
crowned with forests, which afford a shelter to ban- 
ditti. Not a village or hamlet occurs in the three 
leagues from JSstremoz to the Venda du Duque, nor 
in the three leagues beyond it, leading to Arroyolos. 
This is a small village pleasantly situated on a height, 
and has a ruined castle : what is better, it has a 
tolerable post-house. The Portuguese estalagems are 
in general better than the Spanish posadas. Three 
leagues (fourteen miles) further is Montemor Novo, 
seated on the declivity of a tolerably high hill, crowned 
with the remains of an old Moorish castle. This 
town is decently built and paved. The little river 
Canha, which abounds with fish, flows below. This 
place is famous for its manufactory of water-jars, 
made of a clay which emits a grateful odour. The 
adjacent country is beautiful, with all variety of hill, 
and dale, and water. The laurustinus grows in the 
hedges, and blossoms luxuriantly. The route lies for 

SPAIN. 235 

some way through a wilderness of evergreen shrubs 
and aromatic herbs, among which the gum-cistus and 
the myrtle are found in abundance. The roads, how- 
ever, are rugged and steep. It is reckoned four 
leagues from Montemor to Vendas Novas, where there 
is a royal hunting-seat in bad repair. Joam V. had 
occasion to sleep at this place one night, and ordered 
this palace to be built for his reception. Accordingly, 
built it was, half by torch-light, the men working at 
it day and night. A barn, in the midst of a collection 
of poor huts, is the post-house. A flat and sandy 
country, covered with pine-woods, extends for three 
leagues to Venda de Pegoens (or los Pregones), " a 
place abounding with mosquitoes, and nothing to eat." 
Five leagues further of sandy road lead to Aldea Gal- 
lega; " a considerable town," Dr. Southey says, a 
miserable village of fifty or sixty huts, says Mr. 
Semple : both, perhaps, speak comparatively. It is 
placed at the head of a small creek on the south-east 
side of the Tagus, and is the first post from Lisbon, 
distant about ten miles. It has sprung up round a 
venda originally kept here by a Gallega, or Galician 
woman, named Alda, after whom it is named, and had 
at one time nine estalagems, " the largest, cleanest, and 
best supplied in Portugal." It was the very Hounslow 
or Barnet of Lisbon. Its inhabitants have the sin- 
gular privilege of passing free in the ferry-boats to 
the capital. It is a passage of an hour and a half, or 
two hours, across the Tagus. " I rejoiced," says the 
learned Traveller whose route we have pursued, " at 
finding myself upon terra firma, and next morning 
I was awakened by an earthquake !" 

But we have strayed out of Spain, thinking it best 
to conduct our reader along the whole route between 

236 SPAIN. 

the two capitals. We must now transport him back 
to Badajoz. 

Four leagues to the south-east of Badajoz, in the 
route to Seville, is the ruined village of Albuera, the 
scene of one of the most sanguinary conflicts that took 
place during the Peninsular war. It is situated on a 
stream from which it takes its name, over which are 
two bridges ; one about 200 yards to the right of the 
village, large, handsome, and of hewn stone ; the 
other close to the left of it, small, narrow, and incom- 
modious. This brook is not above knee-deep. Its 
banks, to the left of the' small bridge, are abrupt and 
uneven ; and on that side, either artillery or cavalry 
would find it next to impossible to pass ; but to the 
right of the main bridge, it is accessible to any descrip- 
tion of force. About three quarters of a mile distant 
is an extensive wood, which was occupied by the 
French both before and after the battle. The space 
between the wood and the brook is a leveb plain, 
without a tree or a ravine to interrupt the movements 
of cavalry. Here, on the 16th of April, 1811, above 
4000 British and 9000 French fell in the murderous 
conflict. In 1812, the scene was revisited by the 
Author of Recollections of the Peninsula, who had 
himself taken part in the engagement. All was rural, 
and sunny, and silent : not a vestige of the battle 
remained. * Five leagues further south, on the high 
road from Merida to Xeres de Badajoz and Seville, is 

* See, for a minute description of this dearly-bought victory 
Recollections of the Peninsula, pages 153 165. On revisiting 
the chapel which had, the year before, been converted into a 
hospital for the French prisoners, a rude inscription was found 
scratched with charcoal on the wall : La guerre en Espagne est /a 
fortune des g&ifraux, f ennui de* officiers, et le to/nbsau des soldats. 

SPAIN. 237 

Zafra, a fine town, at the foot of a steep hill, near 
which are the remains of a large and handsome con- 
vent destroyed by the French. Nineteen miles south 
of Merida is the ancient town of Medellin, situated on 
the Guadiana, near which the Spanish under Cuesta 
were defeated with great loss by Marshal Victor in 
the spring of 1809. The victims of that disastrous 
and rashly-courted battle were never buried, and in 
1812, human bones lay every where bleached by the 
sun and wind, the relics of the wolf's and eagle's 
feast. A large citadel, which once protected the 
town, is now a heap of ruins. This town was the 
birth-place of Hernan Cortez, the adventurous con- 
queror of Mexico ; and they still pretend to shew the 
house in which he was born, and from which, 300 
years ago, he was expelled by his father in displeasure 
at his idle, dissipated, and unruly conduct. 

We must now retrace our steps to Almaraz, for the 
purpose of noticing some places of particular interest 
in the northern parts of Estremadura. Three leagues 
from that town, out of any main road, is Talavera la 
Vieja (Old Talavera), delightfully situated on the left 
bank of the Tagus. It is now a mere village ; but the 
vestiges of Roman buildings shew it to have been a 
place of considerable importance.* There is hardly 
a house, Laborde says, in which are not to be found 
columns, pilasters, bases, or capitals, and stones with 
inscriptions built into the walls. The remains of two 
temples are the most important objects : of these a 
description has appeared in the Memoirs of the Aca- 
demy of History of Madrid. 

A road leads from xllmaraz in a north-west direc- 

* Supposed to be the Roman Ebura. It is 34 miles W.S.W. of 
Talavera de la Reyna. 

238 SPAIN. 

tion to the two episcopal cities of Plasencia and Curia. 
At four leagues, passing through the solitary village 
of Toril at half way, it crosses the river Tietar, flow, 
ing in a south-west direction into the Tagus. In 
this part there are some woods of oak and cork-tree ; 
but the country beyond, for between three and four 
leagues, is desert and uncultivated, covered only with 
heath, till the traveller approaches the narrow valley 
of the Xerte. The city of Plasencia (supposed to be 
the ancient Ambracia) is partly surrounded by that 
river, being built on a sort of peninsula, environed 
with mountains. It contains seven parish-churches^ 
three monasteries, four nunneries, and several orato 
ries, but nothing remarkable, except a fine old aque- 
duct of 80 arches, which still conveys water to the 
town, and a private collection of antiquities. The 
population is under 5000. The valley of Plasencia 
has been celebrated by the Spaniards as perfectly 
elysian. It was selected by the emperor Charles the 
Fifth as his last retreat on divesting himself of the 
pomp and cares of royalty. The description which 
Don Guillenno Bowles gives of this part of the country, 
by no means corresponds, however, to the romantic 
stories of the Spanish writers. The convent of Juste 
stands in what is called the Vera of Plasencia. On 
quitting that city and crossing the Xerte, the road 
lies over the hill of Calcones, and, leaving Arroyo 
Molinos on the left, proceeds five leagues to La Mag- 
dalena, where the Jesuits had an establishment. A 
league further over a woody country, watered by 
several little trout-streams, leads to the convent, which 
is built on the brow of a steep hill connected with the 
chain called the Puerto de Tornavacas. Neither the 
convent nor the church has any thing to distinguish 
it beyond the historical fact, recorded in an in- 

SPAIN. 239 

scription which is to be seen in a corner of the garden, 
surmounted with the imperial arms, " En esta Santa 
Cusa de San Hieronimo de Juste se reiiro a acabar 
su vida, El que toda la gasto en defensa de la fe y 
conservation de la justicia, Carlos V. Emperador Rey 
de las Espanas Christianissimo^ invictissimo. Muria 
a 21 de Setiembre, de 1558." * Over the great akar 
in the church is a copy of the famous picture called 
the glory of Titian, which formerly stood here, and 

* " In this holy house of St. Jerome of Juste ended his days, he 
who spent the whole of them in defence of the faith and in sup- 
port of justice, Charles V. emperor, king of Spain, most Christian, 
invincible. He died on the 21st of September, 1558." Robertson 
states, on the authority of the Spanish historians, that Charles, in 
passing through this place many years before, had been struck 
with the delightful situation of the monastery, and then observed 
to his attendants, that this was a spot to which Diocletian might 
have retired with pleasure. " From the nature of the soil and the 
temperature of the climate," he adds, " it was esteemed the most 
healthful and delicious situation in Spain. Some months before 
his abdication, he had sent an architect thither, to add a new 
apartment to the monastery for his accommodation ; but he gave 
strict orders that the style of the building should be such as suited 
his present station, rather than his former dignity. It consisted 
only of six rooms, four of them in the form of friars' cells, with 
naked walls : the other two, each twenty feet square, were hung 
with brown cloth, and furnished in the most simple manner. They 
were all on a level with the ground, with a door on one side into a 
garden, of which Charles himself had given the plan, and had 
filled it with various plants which he intended to cultivate with 
his own hands. On the other side, they communicated with the 
chapel of the monastery. Into this humble retreat, hardly suffi- 
cient for the comfortable accommodation of a private gentleman, 
did Charles enter, with twelve domestics only." He arrived here, 
February 24, 1557- The victim of superstition and remorse, he 
endeavoured to conform to all the rigour of monastic austerities; 
and the whip of cords with which he performed secret penance ts 
said to have been found, after his death, tinged with blood. His 
celebration of his own obsequies was the consummation of the 
devout exercises by which this sanguinary persecutor sought to 
propitiate Heaven. On the day following, he was seized with the 
fever which proved fatal ; he expired ia the 59th year of his age. 

240 SPAIN. 

which was removed to the Escurial by express command 
of the emperor, who ordered that the original should 
be fixed in the same church that held his remains. 
" The ruined decorations of the garden and grounds 
seem," we are told, " to intimate their pristine slate 
in happier days ; and the several plantations in the 
Vera, watered by numberless brooks, might once have 
Exhibited a more pleasing appearance." Such are the 
only traces left here of that accomplished despot, 
whose mad ambition agitated all Europe with deso- 
lating wars, and from whose reign may be dated the 
decline of the glory, power, and prosperity of the 
Spanish monarchy. "The Vera now" (1775) "af- 
fords the most melancholy aspect imaginable. Among 
the various experiments to destroy the worms that 
ruin the chesnut-trees, fire was the last expedient, 
insomuch that the trees, scorched and half burned, 
now resemble the oaks struck by the thunder of Jove ; 
and their whole agriculture is reduced to the sowing of 
a few peas, with some miserable scraps of a vineyard. 
The village of Cuacos, near St. Juste, is distinguished 
by the savage disposition and ferocity of its inhabit- 
ants." In the Valle of Plasencia (a level tract, nine 
leagues in length), which is separated from the Vera 
by a range of hills running from the city to the Puerto, 
every branch of cultivation is in the lowest state, and 
the mountains and passes are filled with assassins and 

Twelve leagues to the N.W. of Plasencia, fourteen 
S.W. of Salamanca, and about eight E. of Ciudad 
Rodrigo, is a district, which, in addition to its natu- 
rally wild and savage character, was long invested 
with fabulous horrors. In Dr. Soutbey's Letters, the 

* Dillon's Travels, 4to. London, 1T82. 

SPAIN.. 241 

following description is given of this singular place, 
on the authority of a friend who had visited it. " A 
few leagues above Plasencia, near the highest part 
of that immense chain of mountains which runs 
through Portugal, and precisely where they send off 
the branch which divides the two CastiJes, there is 
a valley three or four miles in length, tremendously 
deep, and so narrow, that it is not wider, a very few 
parts of it excepted, than the stream which runs 
through it, and gives it the name of Batuecas. The 
sun scarcely visits it in winter ; and the only place by 
which it is accessible is where the stream has worked 
its way out: in every other part, it is closed in by 
rocks. Where the rains and winter torrents have 
worn their course from the sides to the bottom of this 
glen or valley, frequent chasms are seen, not unlike 
those which are said to be so fatal to the chamois- 
hunters in Switzerland. Caves and caverns are in 
every part formed, either by the detached fragments 
of the mountain, or by the rains washing away the 
earth from beneath, and leaving the rocks in their 
original position : and these are found placed in such 
a variety, and frequently in such regularity of forms, 
that they appear at a distance the works of art. 
They are in general rectangular, as perpendicular as 
the walls of a house, and sometimes so abruptly broken 
on the summit as to resemble buildings in ruins. 
One, in particular, has its towers, its turrets, its but- 
tresses, its arches, its portal, and every circumstance 
that can impose on you the idea of a castle, which, 
from its inaccessible situation, you must conclude to 
have been erected there by enchantment. It bears 
the name of the Sepulchre of Don Sebastian. Imme- 
diately below this castle in the air, and opposite to 
it, is situated a convent of Carmelite friars, the sole 

242 . SPAIN. 

inhabitants of the place. When this convent was 
founded, the valley, or, as it is called, the desert of 
Batuecas, was said to be possessed by a people who 
were heathens, magicians, and spoke a language which 
none but themselves could understand. The fact is, 
this secluded spot afforded such a secure retreat for 
birds and beasts of prey, and all kinds of venemous 
reptiles, and was so infested by them, that the cattle, 
sheep, and goats of the neighbouring villages, were 
sure to become a prey to some or other of them, 
whenever, by the carelessness of their keepers, they 
were suffered to stray near it ; these fellows, to screen 
themselves, invented these stories, which were no 
sooner made known, than generally received and 

believed.* I think," adds the learned author, "I 

have discovered in this dismal spot, the place where 
the unfortunate Sebastian was confined and finished 
his days. The name given to the rock in front of the 
convent, the stories calculated to deter people from 
visiting the place, invented in Philip II.'s reign, and 
not contradicted till a hundred years afterwards, the 
time of founding the convent (1599), the appearance 
of Don Sebastian at Venice in 1598, and his consequent 
imprisonment in Spain, all tend to prove it. . . , Should 
this conjecture be true, it will not appear a little extra- 
ordinary, that two such personages as Charles the Fifth 
and Don Sebastian should have inhabited places so near 
to each other, and almost at the same period of time, 
which few people, either before or since, have ever 
thought it worth their while to visit."f 

* The tales respecting the supposed savages of Batuecas were so 
fully believed for a long time, that they served as a foundation for 
novels and dramatic performances, repeatedly exhibited on the 

t Southej's Letters, vol. i. p. 256. 

SPAIN. 243 

In Dillon's Travels, a description is given, from 
Don Guillermo Bowles, of another valley in the same 
district, called the Jurdes, about four leagues in 
length, and three in breadth, which is said not to 
yield in wretchedness to the dismal gully overlooked 
by the convent of La Pena de Francia. " During 
the whole journey from Alberca to Batuecas, nothing 
is to be seen but a repetition of jagged and ill-shapen 
rocks, with their rugged peaks like so many turrets 
and battlements, towering one over the other as far 
as the eye can reach, forming dreadful gullies where 
the river forces its way. The waters are clear, 
abounding with trout, and having grains of gold in 
the sand, which the peasants know well how to look 
after, and sell at Plasencia, Ciudad Rodrigo, and 
Salamanca ; which is a great resource to them in this 
sorrowful vale, where, during winter, the sun's rays 
can hardly penetrate for above four hours in the day. 
To increase still further its horror, the hills are per- 
forated with dismal caves, one above the other, and so 
extensive, that three or four hundred sheep may easily 
take shelter there. To complete the picture, the 
country is the resort of numerous birds of prey, and 
affords shelter to bears, wolves, wild cats, and weazels, 
which destroy all the hares and rabbits, with the 
addition of snakes, serpents, and many other noxious 
reptiles. But why need I enlarge further on so dreary 
a spot, or describe so barren a country, where even 
grass is not to be seen ? here and there is a solitary 
cistus, and nothing else but furze, the only resource of 
goats and some bees : the latter are of service merely on 
account of their wax, as their honey has all the bitter 
flavour of their food." * 

* Dillon, p. 275. 

PART iv. a 

244 SPAIN. 

The district of Batuecas is in the diocese of Coria. In 
proceeding to that city from Plasencia, the road lies in 
a south-west direction, crossing some high ground into 
the territory called Tra-sierra, in which stands the vil- 
lage of Villar, an ancient site, as is indicated by Roman 
inscriptions in the walls of several of the houses. The 
environs are beautifully wooded; and some streams of 
excellent water have their rise here, which the Romans 
conveyed to Caparra by an aqueduct, the remains of 
which are still to be seen. At Aldea Nueva, a village 
of 1,500 inhabitants, on the side of a mountain covered 
with chesnut-woods, the river Ambroz is crossed 
twice by a bridge at each end of the village, and a 
third time a little beyond Abadia, a small village, 
where the Duke of Alba has a seat with superb 
gardens, laid out in the old taste, and the Franciscans 
a convent. The road continues along this beautiful 
vale, through woods of evergreen oak, to Caparra, 
another Roman town, seated on a small eminence on 
the bank of the same river, which is here crossed by 
an ancient bridge of four arches. Laborde supposes 
that this place, not Plasencia, was the ancient Am- 
bracia. Though now reduced to a paltry hamlet, some 
scattered remains attest its ancient importance. There 
is a triumphal arch on the Roman military way, with 
fragments of an inscription. The oak-woods extend 
beyond this village, and the road passes through 
several depopulated towns, which shew that this rich 
district was once flourishing and populous. At length, 
the traveller reaches the bank of the Xerte,* and 
crossing it by a bridge of seven arches, ascends for 
some time to the village of Galistes, which occupies a 

* It is not mentioned by Laborde, but the Xerte and the Ambroz 
probably unite. 

SPAIN. 245 

very elevated situation. Here the Duke of Arcos has 
a handsome palace. The road then descends into the 
valley of the Alagon, and for several leagues con- 
tinues along a dreary plain, " almost entirely covered 
with wrecks of Roman grandeur : " fragments of mo- 
numents, inscribed marbles, mile-stones, and traces of 
the military road, are seen all the way to Coria. 

This ancient city, the Cauria and C'aurium of 
Ptolemy, but now reduced to the population of a 
village, is prettily situated on the right bank of the 
Alagon. Remains of Roman fortifications, Laborde 
says, still exist. The walls are built of large stones ; 
they are 20 feet high, and 16 feet thick, flanked by 
large square towers, with four gates. The citadel is 
the work of the Moors, and the Author of Recollec- 
tions in the Peninsula describes it as a fine remain. 
The cathedral consists of only a nave, and has no pre- 
tensions to architectural beauty. There is a fine 
bridge of seven arches on leaving the town, but the 
river has forsaken its ancient channel, and, two 
leagues further, is crossed at a ford. Coria was the 
head-quarters of General Lord Hill in the winter of 
1812-13. It then comprised about 600 houses. The 
surrounding scenery is very fine, and the winter there 
was found as mild as an English spring. A road 
leads northward from Coria, over the lofty Sierra de 
Gate, to Ciudad Rodrigo, distant seventeen leagues; 
and southward, through Celavin to Alcantara, seven 
leagues. The first two leagues of the latter route lie 
over a barren plain. Three leagues further, Celavin, 
a town of 3,000 inhabitants, stands in the midst of 
extensive vineyards. The road then becomes a mere 
mule-track over a rocky country, and leads by a long 
descent to the banks of the Tagus. Alcantara de- 

246 SPAIN. 

rives its name from a magnificent Roman bridge, 576 
feet in length, 27$ in breadth, and 212 feet above the 
bed of the river. It is formed of six unequal arches. 
The Moors, when besieged in Alcantara, demolished 
the smallest arch, and it was rebuilt by Carlos I. in 
the sixteenth century. The Portuguese, on evacuat- 
ing the town after the Peace of Utrecht, are said to 
have blown up two arches ; and these were rebuilt by 
Carlos III. In the middle of the bridge is a triumphal 
arch of granite, 40 feet in height ; and at the end is a 
sepulchral monument, containing the ashes of the 
architect, which has been converted into a chapel 
dedicated to San Julian. The town of Alcantara was 
built by the Moors. Alfonso IX. took it from them 
in 1218, and gave it to the military order of Cala- 
trava, which afterwards assumed the name of the 
town. The church is large, but has never been 
finished : it contains some good pictures. The popula- 
tion is about 3,000 persons. From Alcantara there is a 
road to Badajoz, distant 17 leagues southwards, lead- 
ing through the town of Albuquerque, from which 
the ducal family takes its title. Another road leads 
to Arroyo del Puerco, a town of about 5,000 inhabit- 
ants, in which are some cloth manufactories and a 
church with sixteen paintings by Morales ; and thence 
to Caceres, an ancient Roman colony with the name 
of Castra C&cilia, containing four parish-churches, 
seven convents, and about 8,000 persons. The town 
is ill built, and contains nothing remarkable, except a 
few ancient inscriptions. A cross-road leads from 
Caceres, twelve leagues, to Merida.* 

* For our information with regard to this interesting part of the 
country, we have been obliged to content ourselves for the most 
part with the vague and inaccurate statements of Laborde. Albu- 

SPAIN. 247 

We must here take leave of this fine province, next 
to Andalusia the most interesting 'part of Spain, yet 

querque is not even mentioned in his work. Future travellers 
may avail themselves, however, of this imperfect account as a 
guide to their inquiries, and the valley of the Ambroz will parti- 
cularly deserve to be investigated. In Dillon's Travels will be 
found an account of journeys taken by D. Guillermo Bowles, from 
Almaden in La Mancha, to'Merida, and thence to Guadalcanal, 
Seville, and Malaga ; but of these, our plan and limits restrain us 
from giving any abstract. Almaden is the last village in La 
Mancha, being separated only by a brook from the kingdom of 
Cordova : it stands upon a stratum of cinnabar, and the inhabit- 
ants are chiefly supported by the profits of the quicksilver mine, 
which is believed to have been worked from time immemorial. 
Theophrastus (300 years B. C.) speaks of the cinnabar of Spain ; 
Vitruvius also mentions it ; and Pliny states that the mines were 
in the province of Bcetica, which would agree with this mine ; but 
no traces are left of any Roman works. The road to Merida lies 
through Medellin, crossing the chain of hills which separate La 
Mancha from Estremadura ; these are covered with rosemary, 
growing four or five feet high, privet, thyme, lavender, and all the 
varieties of cistus. Lead and silver mines, iron and emery.are found 
in the Sierra de Guadalupe, near Orellana, and at Zalamea in the 
heart of the Sierra Morena. The country people believe, that the 
latter town was built by persons sent there by King Solomon in 
quest of the silver mines. Guadalcanal is the last town to the 
south in Estremadura, being separated from Andalusia only by the 
small stream of Benalija. Its silver mine has a long history attached 
to it, and has ruined more than it has enriched. In the reign of 
Philip II., two brothers, Mark and Christopher Fugger of Augs- 
burg, obtained a grant of both this mine and the quicksilver mine 
of Almaden, and, either by mining or by other means, they made 
so large a fortue, that ser rico como un Fucar to be as rich as a 
Fugger, had become a proverb in the days of Cervantes. There is 
a street which bears their name in Madrid. Their descendants 
were raised to the dignity of counts of the Roman empire, being 
allied to the greatest houses in Germany. The brothers abandoned 
both their mines in 1635, after having worked that of Guadalcanal 
to a great depth. In less than a month after, the mine filled with 
water to within 30 feet of the surface, and the draining of Pozo 
Rico (the rich shaft) has been a project that has, at intervals, 
exercised the credulity, and absorbed the property, of various 

248 SPAIN. 

the most neglected and depopulated, and, till it was 
made the seat of devastating war, the least known'to 
foreigners. The mountains, which few but shepherds 
have explored, would open a rich field of investigation 
to the scientific traveller ; while, to the antiquary, it 
is not improbable that there may remain at Merida 
and other Roman sites, perhaps beneath the soil, ob- 
jects of the highest interest. Vettonian Merida was 
evidently a favourite colony of the Romans, and no 
city in the peninsula appears to have been distin- 
guished by greater magnificence. 

" None locus Emerita est tumuli, 

Clara colonia Vettoniae, 

Quam memorabilis omnis Anas 

Praeterit, et viridante rapax 

Gurgite moenia pulchra alluit." PRUDENTIUS. 

From this province, in later times, Cortez and Pi- 
zarro went forth to lay the foundation of new king- 
doms in the western world, leading the way to those 
adventurous colonists by whom Meridas and Trux- 
illos, Valencias and Valladolids, have been planted on 
the shores of the two oceans, and in the very heart of 
the Andes. 

Three provinces yet remain to be visited, some 
account of which will naturally connect itself with a 
description of the route 


THERE are three distinct routes from Madrid to 
Bayonne ; one by way of Valladolid and Burgos, 
which we have already traced as far as the latter city, 
and which thence proceeds by way of Vittoria : a 
second leads through Zaragoza ; and a third, which 
has only the recommendation of being the shortest, is 

SPAIN. 249 

by way of Guadalaxara, Agreda, and Roncevalle. It 
is the second and third of these that we shall now 
proceed to trace. 

The road, for six leagues eastward of Madrid, lies 
over a vast extent of bare and level country, watered 
by the Manzanares, the Xarama, and the Henarez. 
It is chiefly corn land. The road would be good, 
were it not for the sandy nature of the soil. At the 
extremity of the plain, on the right bank of the river, 
from which it takes its name, and backed by a semi- 
circle of mountains, stands the famous city of Alcala 
de Henarez. This modern representative of the an- 
cient Complutum, was built in the twelfth century, the 
old city having suffered so much during the siege 
which the Moors sustained in it before it was taken, 
as to require rebuilding. The ruins of an old castle 
on a hill, on the other side of the river, are said to 
mark the ancient site. The present town is walled, 
with square towers at intervals, and covers a very 
considerable area, sufficient, Laborde says, to contain 
30,000 inhabitants, whereas the actual population 
does not amount to a sixth of that number. The 
public buildings occupy a large proportion of the city : 
they consist of one collegiate and three parish churches, 
nineteen monasteries, eight nunneries, thirteen col- 
leges, and four hospitals. The university was founded 
by the celebrated Cardinal Ximines, to whom the 
Christian world is indebted for the edition of the poly- 
glott Bible, known by the appellation of the Complu- 
tensian. In the library of the college of San Ilde- 
fonso, founded by Ximines, are preserved the original 
manuscript of this Bible, together with the letters of 
that great man, his ring, his bust, and his portrait. 
The schools of Alcala were the most celebrated of their 
age, and the students numbered at one time neariy 

250 SPAIN. 

4,000 ; but their prosperity was of short duration : 
the same century that saw their foundation, wit- 
nessed their decline.* This university is now in a 
state of decay, and there are scarcely 500 students ; 
the printing-houses have disappeared, and the publica- 
tions which issued from them are almost forgotten. 
Mr. Townsend styles Alcala one of the prettiest cities 
in Spain. The buildings are of granite, of limestone, 
and of brick, and the pavement is of smooth, round 
stones, the spoils of distant mountains. The Arch- 
bishop of Toledo has a palace here, the work of Cova- 
rubias and Berruguete; it is an immense building, 
containing, it is said, 366 rooms, exclusive of the 
ground-floor. In one front there are 82 pillars ; in 
the other, 52; and there are numerous courts, sur- 
rounded with piazzas. The most superb edifice in 
Alcala is the college of San Ildefonso, the front of 
which is Gothic. It has three large quadrangles, sur- 
rounded with cloisters of beautiful architecture. The 
first court has three rows of piazzas, one above the 
other ; the columns of the lower two of the Doric, 
and those of the upper tier of the Ionic order. The 
columns of the second court are Composite ; and the 
third court is adorned with Ionic columns. The church 
contains nothing remarkable, except the mausoleum 
of the founder, of marble richly sculptured, and sur- 
rounded with a bronze grating. The collegiate church, 
rebuilt by Cardinal Ximines, is in the Gothic style. 
Among the other public edifices, the fa9ade of the 
King's college, and that of the Jesuits, which is of 
Corinthian architecture, are the only two that seem 

* Ximines was born, in 1437, at Torrelaguna, a small town on the 
road from Madrid to San Ildefonso. He was appointed confessor 
to Queen Isabella in 1491 ; created cardinal in 1507. He founded 
the college of San Ildefonso in 1499. 

SPAIN. 251 

to deserve notice. Laborde describes Alcala as a very 
gloomy town, being peopled only by priests, monks, 
students, and professors ; but its gloominess must arise 
chiefly from its being unpeopled. From a distance, 
the number of its turrets and spires gives the town a 
highly picturesque appearance. Alcala was the birth- 
place of Cervantes. 

Four leagues from Alcala, the road lying over a 
well-cultivated plain, is the ancient city of Guada- 
laxara, the chief town of the canton of Alcarria, situ- 
ated near the eastern bank of the Henarez. It con- 
tains ten parishes, six monasteries, seven nunneries, 
two hospitals, and eight hermitages. The population, 
in 1786, was estimated at 16,000 souls,* of whom 
nearly 4,000 were employed in the royal cloth-ma- 
nufactory, besides about 40,000 spinners in the ad- 
jacent villages. This manufactory was first projected, 
in 1720, by the Baron de Riperda, who brought 
workmen from Holland; but it had little success. 
During the war of 1740, the English Government 
having prohibited the importation of Spanish wool, 
Mr. Wall, afterwards prime minister of Spain, then in 
England, succeeded in decoying one Thomas Bevan, a 
skilful workman, from Melksham in Wiltshire, with 
many others, and established them at Guadalaxara, 
where they contributed to raise the credit of an ex- 
piring manufacture. Some years after this, Thomas 
Bevan, having met with ill usage, died of a broken 
heart, and in him this undertaking suffered an irre- j 

* This must be understood as exclusive of the ecclesiastics, and 
probably of children also, since a fourth were employed in the ma- 
nufactory. Laborde states the population at 12,000, adding, that it 
was formerly more numerous, and yet rates the persons employed 
in the manufacture at nearly 5,000. 

Q 2 

252 SPAIN. 

parable loss.* Laborde represents the manufactory 
as much contracted in its scale, and as scarcely paying 
the expenses : the cloths are as dear as foreign ones, 
and the Spaniards themselves prefer the latter. The 
Duke of Infantado has a spacious palace at Guada- 
laxara, and a most superb subterranean pantheon and 
chapel beneath the church of the Cordeliers, inferior 
in magnificence only to the royal burying-chapel in 
the Esc u rial. The most precious marbles, mosaic 
pavements, gilded roofs, columns, and other decora- 
tions, have been lavished on this posthumous man- 
sion of the noble family. So it was that the ancients 
always raised their noblest edifices for the dead. The 
site of Guadalaxara is believed to have been occupied 
by the Romans under the name of Arriaca or Carraca. 
The present name is obviously of Moorish origin, and 
appears to be taken from the river : they are said to 
have called it Guidalhichara or Guidalarriaca, pro- 
bably Wady al Ajara; or there may be some con- 
nexion between the name of the city and that of the 
canton, which we leave the Spanish etymologists to 

The road, soon after leaving Guadalaxara, enters 
the mountains, and for some distance lies along a 
causeway, shaded with elms, which follows the wind- 

* Townsend, vol. i. p. 240. It is remarkable that Spain should 
be indebted to the present of an English monarch for her merino 
flocks, and to an English mechanic for the fame of her Vigonia 
broad cloth. In the war of the Succession, the Spanish Government 
prohibited the sale of their wines and fruits to the English and 
Dutch ; " who, in consequence of this," says Mr. Townsend, 
"formed connexions with the Portuguese, so that now, more espe- 
cially in England, Port wine supplies the place of sack" that is 
vin sec, the dry wine of Spain. It is mortifying to think, that forty 
years after, the English Government should have known no better 
than to retaliate 

SPAIN. 253 

ings of the sierra. This new road was finished in 
1790. It then ascends to the ruined town of Torrija, 
the residence of the intendant of Guadalaxara, formerly 
a very strong place ; part of the high walls which 
surrounded it, together with somesquare towers with 
battlements and embrasures, are still entire. The 
next league is through the beautiful valley overlooked 
by this ancient station. At two leagues and a half is 
Grajanejos, built upon a limestone rock, overlooking 
perpendicularly a narrow valley, above which it is 
elevated more than 300 feet : four little streams flow 
down the ravine and unite below. The country 
beyond, as far as Alcolea, a distance of between nine 
and ten leagues, consists of a succession of arid plains, 
for the most part desolate and uncultivated, occa- 
sionally broken into ravines, and the road is very 
rugged and fatiguing. The oak, the ilex, the juniper, 
furze, broom, lavender, thyme, and, in some places, 
the kermes-oak, are enumerated by Mr. Townsend as 
the indigenous productions of this wild tract of 
country.* Alcolea de Pinar is a small village in the 
midst of corn-lands, near the foot of a lofty mountain, 
where the people of the district believe that the 
streams divide on either side towards Madrid and 
Aragon. Here is a wretched posada, this being the 
point at which the roads separate that lead to Zara- 
goza, the one by way of Daroca and Used, and the 
other by way of Calatayud and Sisamon.t" 

* Laborde, therefore, is quite wrong in affirming, that the 
eighteen leagues between Alcolea and Torrija afford no wood, 
foliage, or verdure. 

t The shortest route to Bayonne, as given in the Itinerary, ap- 
pears to turn off near Grajanejos, running thence tc Almadrones 
and Torremacha, crossing a very elevated table-land at Lodares, 
and the Duero at Almazar, and passing by Agreda where pass- 

254 SPAIN. 

Beyond Alcolea, the country is naked and barren, 
the sandstone formation prevailing as far as Maran- 
chon, a little village situated on a declivity, sheltered 
from the north by high limestone rocks, but open to 
the south, and looking down upon a rich valley 
industriously cultivated. From this place to Anchuela, 
the country, in its calcareous rock and general aspect, 
reminded Mr. Townsend of the neighbourhood of 
Bath.* Anchuela, he says, would be a beautiful 
situation for a nobleman's seat, and, compared with 
the uncultivated mountains of Aragon, appears a 
paradise. The valley is shut in by swelling hills, and 
watered by a rivulet clear as crystal; the declivities 
are shaded with savin, juniper, and furze, and the 
vicinity abounds with corn, wine, and oil. But 
" throughout Spain," adds this Traveller, " I do not 
recollect to have seen a single country residence like 
those which every where abound in England." An- 
chuela itself is a wretched village, with a filthy posada. 
Beyond it, extends a most dreary tract of desert 
mountains and unpeopled valleys. League after 
league, not an object presents itself to cheer the 
weary traveller ; " BO house, no tree, except the 
savin, the juniper, and an indigenous species of cedar ; 
but, from time to time, a monumental cross to remind 
him of mortality." After passing through Tortuera, 
a wretched village " built on a rock of marble, such as 

ports are examined), Tafalla, Pampeluna, Roncevaux, and St. Jean 
Pied de Port, to Bayonne. The distance from Madrid by this 
route is estimated at 83 Spanish leagues. 

" I felt a peculiar pleasure," says this Traveller, " in picking 
up on the ploughed land, belemnites, cockles, and cardias, with 
other bivalves, and fragments of the. pisolite, of the same species 
and of the same colour with those which I had formerly collected 
at Keinsham, Atford, Wraxall, Melksham, and on the adjacent 

SPAIN. 255 

would not disgrace a palace," the road descends to an 
extensive plain, chiefly pasture-land; and at fourteen 
leagues from Alcolea, leads to Used, the first village 
in Aragon. 

The road to Daroca lies over mountains of schist 
and sandstone, in which the strata run in every pos- 
sible direction, and " all nature seems to have suffered 
the most violent convulsions." " We are here," says 
Mr. Townsend, " on the highest land in Spain, with 
the water falling behind us into the Ebro, while 
immediately before us it runs into the Tagus."* 
Daroca is built in a ravine, on the western bank of the 
Xiloca ; a situation which would have exposed it to 
being swept away by torrents, had not the inhabitants 
made a drift of 600 yards through the heart of the 
mountain, to open a communication with the river. 
It appears, from the ruined fortifications, to have been 
a place of importance. It was taken from the king of 
Cordova by Alfonso I., in 1123. " The town," Mr. 
Townsend says, " formerly occupied the hills for 
safety, but has now crept down into the vale for 
shelter. Climbing among the rocks, it is beautiful to 
look down upon the valley which feeds the city, every 
where shut in by uncultivated mountains, itself well 
watered, covered with deep verdure, and loaded with 
the most luxuriant crops. To view such a strip of 

* Between Anchuela del Campo and Tortuera, is the village of 
Concha, " which is said to be almost the highest ground in Spain." 
(Laborde, vol. iii. p. 68.) This is said of many other places. A 
little to the south, the village of Molina occupies an ^elevated 
situation on mountains which have, on the one side, the Xiloca 
flowing towards the Ebro, and the Gallo on the other, which joins 
the Tagus. Near Molina, under the limestone, is found a red 
gypsum, containing fossil shells similar to those with which the 
limestone is charged near Anchuela and Concha. 

256 SPAIN. 

land, excites our wonder how the inhabitants can live. 
The exquisite beauty of this spot, and the protection 
which it offered, were powerful attractives to the 
priests, and the religious orders, who, in this city, 
have no fewer than six convents (one is a nunnery) 
and seven parish-churches, of which one is collegiate." 
To these Laborde adds three hospitals and ten her- 
mitages or chapels, three of which were formerly 
parochial, and two belonged to the Templars. The 
population, in 1786, was estimated at 2,863 souls. 
Hemp is cultivated in the vicinity. 

The next five leagues, to Carinenna, are over parched 
and uncultivated hills, where little is seen but here 
and there the kermes-oak and a few aromatic herbs. 
Carinenna, however, is situated in a fertile plain, 
covered with vines and olives : the wine is of the 
finest quality. The town contained, in 1786, 2,036 
souls, and two convents. From this place, it is eight 
leagues (reckoned by Mr. Townsend thirty-six English 
miles, a day's journey), over a mountainous track in 
which gypsum prevails, to the capital of Aragon, the 
illustrious city of 


THIS ancient town has received its appellation from 
the Remans, under whom it was a flourishing colony ; 
the modern name being only a corruption of C&sarea 
Augusta. It stands in the midst of an extensive and 
fertile plain, on the Ebro ; and contained, at the 
commencement of the present century, seventeen 
parish-churches, twenty-four monasteries, four houses 
of regulars, sixteen nunneries and beaterios, four 
chapels, or hermitages, and five hospitals ; altogether, 

SPAIN. 257 

seventy-one churches, and a clergy more numerous 
than that of Barcelona.* We shall take our descrip- 
tion of this city from the historian of the Peninsular 

" Zaragoza is not a fortified town.-}- The brick 
wall which surrounded it was from ten to twelve feet 
high, and three feet thick; and in many places it was 
interrupted by houses, which formed part of the 
enclosure. It has no advantages of situation for its 
defence ; and would not have been considered as 
capable of resistance by any men but those whose 
courage was sustained by a virtuous principle of duty. 
It stands in an open plain, which was then covered 
with olive-grounds, bounded on either hand by high 
and distant mountains ; but it is commanded by some 
high ground, called the Torrero, about a mile to the 
south-west, upon which there is a convent, with some 
smaller buildings. The canal of Aragon divides this 
elevation from another rising ground, where the 
Spaniards had erected a batteiy. The Ebro bathes 
the walls of the city, and separates it from the suburbs. 
It has two bridges, within musket-shot of each other ; 
one of wood, said to be more beautiful than any other 
of the like materials in Europe ; the other of free- 
stone, consisting of seven arches, of which the prin- 
cipal is 122 feet in diameter. The river is fordable 
above the city. Two smaller rivers, the Galego and 
the Guerva, flow at a little distance from the city, the 
one on the east, the other on the west, the latter 

* The number of students in the university, in 1 786, was stated 
to Mr. Townsend to be 2,000, and the resident professors, 121. 

t ' Elle ect sans defense,' said Colmenar, writing a century ago, 
'fermee d'une simple muraille. Mais cedefaut estreparSpar la bra- 
voure dfs habitant.' After the proofs which the inhabitants have 
given of their patriotism, this prahe appears like prophecy. 

258 SPAIN. 

being separated from the walls only by the breadth of 
the common road : both are received into the Ebro. 
Unlike most other towns in the Peninsula, Zaragoza 
has neither aqueduct nor fountains, but derives its 
water wholly from the river. The people of Tortosa 
(and probably of the other towns upon its course) drink 
also of the Ebro, preferring it to the finest spring. 
The water is of a dirty red colour ; but having stood 
a few hours, it becomes perfectly clear, and has a 
softness and pleasantness of taste, which soon induces 
strangers to agree with the natives in preferring it. 
The population was stated, in the census of 1787, at 
42,600 : later accounts compute its inhabitants at 
60,000 ; and it is certainly one of the largest cities in 
the Peninsula. It has twelve gates; four of them in 
the old wall of Augustus, by whom the older town of 
Salduba, upon the same site, was enlarged, beautified, 
and called Caesarea Augusta, or Casar-Augusta, a 
word easily corrupted into its present name. 

" The whole city, even its convents and churches, 
is built of bad brick. The houses are not so high as 
they usually are in old Spanish towns, their general 
height being only three stories. The streets are, as 
usual, very narrow and crooked. There are, however, 
open market-places, and one very wide, long, and 
regularly-built street, formerly called the Calle- Santa, 
having been the scene of many martyrdoms, but now 
more commonly known by the name of the Cozff. 
The people, like the rest of the Aragonese, and their 
neighbours, the Catalans, have been always honourably 
distinguished in Spanish history for their love of 
liberty; and the many unavailing struggles which 
they have made during the last four centuries, had 
not abated their attachment to the good principles of 
their forefathers." 

SPAIN. 259 

Mr. Townsend speaks of the two cathedrals as 
araply repaying the fatigues of the journey from 
Barcelona. "That which is called El Aseu is vast, 
gloomy, and magnificent : it inspires awe, and inclines 
the worshipper to fall prostrate. The other, called 
El P\lar y spacious, lofty, light, elegant, and cheerful, 
inspires hope, confidence, complacency." It is 500 
feet in length, and consists of a nave with two aisles. 
In the centre, under the great cupola, is a chapel of 
Our Lady of the Pillar, who is believed to have 
appeared upon this very pillar to St. James, and 
afterwards to have given him the image which is 
worshipped at the altar. It is a model of the Santa 
Casa at Loretto.* The wealth of this cathedral is 
represented by Mr. Townsend as inestimable, con- 
sisting of silver, gold, precious stones, and rich 
embroidery, sent by all the Catholic sovereigns of 
Europe, to deck its priests and adorn its altars. 
"Whatever wealth could command, or human art 
could execute, has been collected to excite the admira- 
tion of all who view the treasures of this church." 
Among the other public edifices, the Torre Nueva in 
the great square, built by the Moors, and the Torre 
del Aseu, formerly a mosque, are mentioned as claim- 
ing attention. But the most remarkable of all, in the 
estimation of devotees, was the church of Santa 
Engracia, attached to a Geronimite monastery, which 
vied in sanctity and in the value of its relics with the 
cathedral of Our Lady of the Pillar herself. " Both 
the church and convent were splendidly adorned, but 
the most remarkable part of the whole edifice was 
a subterranean church, formed in the place where the 
relics were discovered, and having the pit, or well, as 

* An exact counterpart, on the same model, may be seen in the 
church of the nunnery of Santa Clara, at Catania, in Sicily. 

260 SPAIN. 

it was called, in the middle. It was divided by a 
beautiful iron grating, which excluded laymen from 
the interior of the sanctuary. There were tliree 
descents; the widest flight of steps was that*vrhich 
was for public use; the two others were for the 
religioners, and met in one behind the three chief 
altars, within the grating. Over the midst of these 
altars were two tombs, placed one upon the other, in a 
niche ; the under one containing the relics of En- 
gracia's companions and fellows in martyrdom; the 
upper, those of the saint herself, her head excepted, 
which was kept in a silver shrine, having a collar of 
precious stones, and enclosed in crystal. The altars 
on either side had their respective relics ; and several 
others, equally rich in such treasures, were ranged 
along the walls, without the grating. The roof was of 
an azure colour, studded with stars, to represent the 
sky. The breadth of the vault considerably exceeded its 
length ; it was sixty feet wide, and only forty long. 
Thirty little columns, of different marbles, supported 
the roof. On the stone brink of the well, the history 
of the Zaragozan martyrs was represented in bas- 
relief; and an iron grating, reaching to the roof, 
secured it from being profaned by idle curiosity, and 
from the pious larcenies which it might otherwise 
have tempted. Within this cage-work, a silver lamp 
was suspended. Thirty such lamps were burning 
there day and night ; and though the roof was little 
more than twelve feet high, it was never in the 
slightest degree sullied with smoke. The fact is cer- 
tain; but the useful and important secret by which 
oil was made to burn without producing smoke, was 
carefully concealed; and the Geronimites continued 
til\ this time to exhibit a miracle which puzzled 
all who did not believe it to be miraculous. 

SPAIN. 261 

The history of the siege of this city, in the first 
year of the Peninsular war, under the brave Palafox, 
presents one of the most romantic displays of patriot- 
ism in the annals of history. The spirit of the ancient 
Numantians seemed to animate the citizens of Zara- 
goza. The French, despising alike the strength of 
the place and the character of the people, who, under 
the appearance of gravity and apathy, concealed a 
latent spirit of unconquerable enthusiasm, thought to 
take the city by storm. A party of the enemy entered 
the city on the 15th of June, 1808, who were all slain, 
and Lefebvre was compelled to draw off his troops 
beyond the reach of their guns. On the 27th, having 
been reinforced, they renewed the assault, and were 
again repulsed ; but the Torrero was taken ; and from 
this spot the French showered down shells and gre- 
nades into the city, where there was not one building 
bomb-proof, while they continued to invest it more 
closely. During the night of the 28th, the powder- 
magazine in the very heart of the city blew up, it is 
supposed through treachery, destroying fourteen houses, 
and about 200 persons ; and at this signal, a fresh at- 
tack was made on the city, which was directed chiefly 
against the Portillo gate. Here, the battery which 
had been formed of sand-bags piled up before the gate, 
was repeatedly destroyed, and as often re-constructed 
under the fire of the enemy. The carnage throughout 
the day was dreadful. On this occasion it was, that 
Augustina Zaragoza, a handsome young woman of the 
lower class, arrived at this battery with refreshments* 

* During the siege, women of all ranks assisted, forming them- 
selves into companies, some to relieve the wounded, some to carry 
water, wine, and provisions, to those who defended the gates. 
" The Countess Burita instituted a corps for this service ; she was 
young, delicate, and beautiful. In the midst of the most tre- 

262 SPAIN. 

at a moment when not a man was left alive to serve 
the guns, snatched a match from the hand of a dead 
artillery-man, and fired off a six-and-twenty-pounder, 
vowing never to quit the gun alive. The Zaragozans, 
at this sight, rushed forward to the battery, and re- 
newed their fire with greater vigour than ever, and 
the French were repulsed at all points with great 
slaughter." By the end of July, the city was com- 
pletely invested, and various assaults were made in 
the interim. On the 4th of August, batteries had 
been opened within pistol-shot of the church of Santa 
Engracia, and after a dreadful carnage, the French 
forced their way into the Cozo, in the very heart of 
the city. Lefebvre, imagining that he had effected 
his purpose, now addressed a note to Palafox, contain- 
ing the words : " Head-quarters, Sta. Engracia. Ca- 
pitulation." The answer returned was : " Head- 
quarters, Zaragoza. War at the knife's point, (Guerra 
al cuchilld) ." " The contest which was now carried 
on is unexampled in history. One side of the Cozo, a 

mendous fire of shot and shells, she was seen coolly attending to 
those occupations which had now become her duty ; nor, through- 
out the whole of a two months' siege, did the imminent danger to 
which she incessantly exposed herself, produce the slightest appa- 
rent effect upon her, or in the slightest degree bend her from her 
heroic purpose. Some of the monks bore arms ; others exercised 
their spiritual offices to the dying ; others, with the nuns, were 
busied in making cartridges, which the children distributed." When 
the enemy had gained the command of the surrounding country, 
" corn-mills worked by horses were erected in various parts of the 
city. The monks were employed in manufacturing gunpowder, 
materials for which were obtained by collecting all the sulphur in 
the place, by washing the soil of the streets to extract its nitre, 
and making charcoal from the stalks of hemp, which in that part 
of Spain grow to an extraordinary magnitude. On this simple 
foundation, a regular manufactory was formed after the siege, 
which produced 325 Ibs. (of 12 oz.) per day." SOOTHEY, vol. i. 
pp. 407, 410. 

SPAIN. 263 

street about as wide as Pali-Mall, was possessed by the 
French ; and, in the centre of it, their general, Ver- 
dier, gave his orders from the Franciscan convent. 
The opposite side was maintained by the Aragonese, 
who threw up batteries at the openings of the cross 
streets, within a few paces of those which the French 
erected against them. The intervening space was 
presently heaped with dead, either slain upon the 
spot, or thrown from the windows. Just before the 
day closed, Don Francisco Palafox, the general's bro- 
ther, entered the city most unexpectedly with a con- 
voy of arms and ammunition, and a reinforcement of 
3,000 men. The war was now continued from street 
to street, from house to house, and from room to 
room ; pride and indignation having wrought up the 
French to a pitch of obstinate fury little inferior to 
the devoted courage of the patriots. This most ob- 
stinate and murderous contest was continued for eleven 
successive days and nights, more indeed by night than 
by day. Under cover of the darkness, the combatants 
frequently dashed across the streets to attack each 
other's batteries ; and the battles which began there, 
were often carried on into the houses beyond." A 
pestilence at length began to be dreaded from the 
enormous accumulation of putrifying bodies, and this 
in the month of August. No truce was asked, or 
would have been granted, on either side. The only 
remedy, therefore, for this horrible embarrassment, 
was, to tie ropes to the French prisoners, and push 
them forward to bring away the bodies for interment. 
" In every conflict, however, the citizens now gained 
ground upon the French, winning it inch by inch, till 
the space occupied by the enemy, which, on the day 
of their entrance, was nearly half the city, was gra- 
dually contracted to about an eighth part. During 

264 SPAIN. 

the night of the 13th, their fire was particularly fierce 
and destructive. After their batteries had ceased, 
flames burst out in many parts of the buildings which 
they had won. Their last act was to blow up the 
church of Sta. Engracia; the powder was placed in 
the subterranean church, and this monument of fraud 
and credulity was laid in ruins. In the morning, the 
French columns, to the great surprise of the Spaniards, 
were seen at a distance retreating over the plain, on 
the road to Pamplona." 

Such was the result of the first siege of Zaragoza. 
But the sufferings and achievements of its heroic de- 
fenders were not to terminate here. In the month 
of Dec. 1809, Marshal Moncey, Duke of Castigfione, 
having fixed his head-quarters at the Torrero, sum- 
moned Palafox to surrender the town, to prevent it 
total destruction. That true Spaniard returned a 
haughty and patriotic refusal. Moncey, falling ill, 
was superseded by Junot, and Marshals Lasnes, Mor- 
tier, Suchet, and St. Cyr, subsequently joined the 
besieging army. A breach was soon made in the mud 
walls, and the system now pursued was, to destroy the 
city by sapping and mining, street by street, while an 
incessant bombardment was kept up from without, 
which continued two-and-forty days, during which 
17,000 bombs were thrown at the town. Famine and 
pestilence now came to the aid of the French, and by 
the 19th of February, only 2,822 of the Spanish troops 
remained fit for service. Two-thirds of the city had 
been destroyed, 30,000 of the inhabitants had perished, 
and from 3 to 400 were dying daily of the pestilence, 
when the junta capitulated.* 

* Augustina Zaragoza, who had equally distinguished herself 
during the second siege, was among the prisoners, but escaped. 
Palafox was sent to France, where he died. 

SPAIN. 265 

Zaragoza is fifty-two Spanish leagues (about four 
miles and a half each) from Madrid, and fifty from 
Barcelona. The route from the latter city, we have 
already traced as far as the Catalonian frontier.* The 
intermediate country between Zaragoza and Alcaraz, 
a distance of twenty-two leagues, is dreary and barren 
beyond description. For twenty miles, the road lies 
over a plain of gypsum, destitute of either human 
habitation, tree or bush, beast or bird. The only town 
is Fraga, on the river Cinca, three miles from Alcaraz, 
which may be considered as a Catalonian town, since, 
though nominally within the kingdom of Aragon, it 
is in the diocese of Lerida, and the language and 
manners of the inhabitants are those of the Catalans. 
This place (the Galica Flavia of Ptolemy) was for- 
merly a fortified town, and sustained several sieges 
under the Moors. It was at length taken by Ray- 
mond Berenger, in 1147. The ruins of the citadel 
crown the summit of a mountain which commands the 
town. The streets are narrow and crooked ; the 
houses are mere huts, and half in ruins, being very 
ancient, and many of them are decorated with armo- 
rial bearings. The population is about 3,000 souls. 

Aragon is one of the largest provinces of Spain ; it 
is at the same time one of the least populous, and the 
least susceptible of improvement. In the preamble to 
one of the ancient laws of Aragon, it is declared, that 
" such was the barrenness of their country, and the 
poverty of the inhabitants, that, were it not on ac- 
count of the liberties by which they were distinguished 
from other nations, the people would abandon it, and 
go in quest of a settlement to some more fertile 

* See vol. i. p. 113. 

266 SPAIN. 

region."* It was one of the provinces last recovered 
from the Moors, the whole of Aragon not being con- 
quered till early in the thirteenth century. It con- 
tinued to have its separate states till they were sup- 
pressed by Philip V., in 1707. Besides Zaragoza, 
which is the see of the primate, it contains the epis- 
copal sees of Jaca, Barbastro, Huesca, Tarazona, 
Albarrazin, and Teruel : Daroca and Calatayud are, 
next to these, the most important towns. The latter 
town, situated twelve leagues and a half (Spanish) 
south-west of Zaragoza, was founded by Ajub (Job), 
a Moorish general, in the eighth century, and is said 
to have been partly built with the ruins of the ancient 
Bibilis, the birth-place of the poet Martial, seated on 
a mountain, half a league distant, which still retains 
the name of Baubola. Calatayud stands on the right 
bank of the Jalon, near its confluence with the Xiloca, 
in the centre of a charming and fertile vale. The town 
contains seven parish-churches, six monasteries, five 
nunneries, two colleges, and about 9,000 inhabitants. 
It was formerly famous for its cutlery. The vales of 
Almunia and Techa, the great plain of which Albar- 
razin is the chief place, and those of Alcannez, Caspe, 
Albalate, Maella, and Calaceite are also mentioned by 
Laborde as highly rich and fertile. Three-fourths of 
the land, indeed, he says, is adapted to the olive, which 
is but little cultivated.f The wines of Aragon, also, 
are said to be excellent, as well as the flax, hemp, 
saffron, and silk. In fact, it is evident, that the bar- 
renness of the soil cannot be the cause of the depopu- 

* Robertson's Hist, of Charles V., Introd. 3. 

t This remark is confirmed by a fact mentioned by Mr. Town- 
send. In the midst of the bare gypseous plain near Candasnos, 
he noticed in one spot, to his great astonishment, the olive flou- 
rishing in apparently the same kind of soil. 

SPAIN. 267 

1 at ion, if it be true, as Laborde reports, that there 
are 149 deserted villages, and 385 which have but a 
very few houses. The whole population of the pro- 
vince in 1 787, 8, did not exceed 623,308 inhabitants, 
including 8,552 ecclesiastics, secular and regular, and 
1454 nuns. The new canal of Aragon promises, when 
completed, to benefit this province very materially, by 
affording a vent for its productions and manufactured 
commodities; and to this circumstance, probably, may 
be ascribed the increase which is stated to have taken 
place in the population more particularly of Aragon 
since the year 1788. Laborde states, that agriculture 
had taken a new appearance in the districts watered 
by the canal. 

The canal of Aragon (first projected in 1529, and, 
after being long abandoned, re-commenced in 1775,) 
begins at Tudela in Navarre, up to which point the 
Ebro is navigable, and passing near Zaragoza, joins 
the Ebro again ten leagues below. Not far from Zara- 
goza, it passes the mountain of Torrero by an open 
cast of forty feet the mean depth, for about a mile in 
length. The whole extent traversed by this branch 
of the canal, from Tudela to its junction with the 
Ebro, will be, Laborde says, nearly 80,000 fathoms, 
or twenty-six leagues and a half. The plan is, to 
open another canal that shall cross Navarre and Biscay, 
and so form a communication between the two seas at 
Santander and Tortosa ; a distance of considerably 
more than a hundred Spanish leagues. Mr. Townsend, 
however, represents a land-portage as absolutely ne- 
cessary. " To make the communication through the 
whole extent by water, is hardly possible ; or, if pos- 
sible, is by no means desirable; because, in passing 
the mountains of Biscay, only from Reinosa, at the 
head of the Ebro, to the Suanzes, which flows into 


268 SPAIN. 

the bay near Santander, in the space of three leagues, 
the fall is 3,000 Spanish feet. It is remarkable" he 
adds, " that between Fontibre (Fans Ebri) and 
Reinosa, there is a salt lake." The Bocol, or spot 
where the canal commences, is very near the confines 
of the two provinces. The village of Fontellas in 
Aragon is situated on an eminence adjoining the 
canal. " We cross it there," says M. Bourgoing, 
" to go to Tudela, which is only two leagues distant. 
On leaving Fontellas, we find a specimen of the ex- 
cellent roads with which it has been provided before, 
any other part of Spain, by the care of its viceroy, the 
Count de Gages. These roads traverse Navarre from 
one extremity to the other. Setting out on horseback, 
or on mules, from St. Jean Pied-de-Port, a small town 
situated at the very foot of the very rugged Pyrenean 
mountain called Altovizar, we are two or three hours 
ascending it before we reach Roncevaux, placed at 
the foot of the Pyrenees on the other side. Ronce- 
vaux, the name of which is so famous in romance 
and fabulous history, is at present nothing but a vil- 
lage, where there are some tolerable inns and a monas- 
tery. From this place to Pamplona, the distance is 
only six leagues of good road, through deep valleys 
and among high mountains, partly covered with wood. 
In this stage, we have upon the right, the valley of 
Bastan, which has constantly been the theatre of the 
quarrels of the respective frontier powers. It is five 
or six leagues in diameter. The Bidassoa has here its 
source. It has not much corn, but it abounds in fruits, 
maize, and meadows covered with flocks. The six 
leagues between Pamplona and Tafalla pass through a 
rich and populous country. Of the eleven leagues 
between Tafalla and Tudela, the last six also pass 
through a highly cultivated country, if we except the 

SPAIN. 269 

Bardena del Rey, a wild district, but abounding in 

Tudela ranks as the second city in Navarre. It is 
situated at the confluence of the Queilas with the 
Ebro, sixteen leagues south of Pamplona, the capital, 
in a fertile district : the population is stated at up- 
wards of 7,000 inhabitants. Navarre was divided into 
five merindades, or districts, by Louis, king of Aqui- 
taine, of which that of Tudela is one ; the others are, 
the districts of Pamplona, Estella, Sanguesa, and 
Olita. Pamplona, through which lies the route from 
St. Jean Pied-de-Port to Madrid, is a fortified city on 
the banks of the Arga, and contains a cathedral, three 
parishes, nine monasteries, two nunneries, and about 
2,800 families. It is said to have been built by Pom- 
pey after the defeat of Sertorius, whence it derived 
the name of Pompeiopolis. This has long been con- 
sidered as one of the principal strong holds in the north 
of the Peninsula. Navarre was for 500 years an in- 
dependent monarchy, till, in 1509, Ferdinand the 
Catholic, under pretences not less frivolous than 
unjust, as well as by artifices the most treacherous, 
expelled John d' Albert, the lawful sovereign, and 
extended the limits of the Spanish monarchy from the 
frontiers of Portugal to the Pyrenees.* It is through- 
out mountainous, intersected with fertile valleys ; the 
very country for the guerrilla warfare, by which the 
heroic Espoz y Minaf succeeded in annoying and keep- 

Robertson's Charles V. b. i. 

t This extraordinary man was born at Idozin, a village of Na- 
varre, on the 1 7th of June, 1781. He served at first as a private 
soldier in the guerrilla commanded by his nephew, Xavier Mina, 
who perished in Mexico. On his capture by the French, in 1810, 
Espoz was chosen chief, and was afterwards named by the junta of 
Aragon commander-in-chief of the guerrillas of Navarre. For two- 
and-twenty months he kept up unintermittingly the blockade of 

2/0 SPAIN. 

ing in check the French armies in the Peninsular war. 
The whole population of the viceroyalty is little more 
than 200,000 persons. The Castilian is spoken, 
though mixed with the dialects of the adjoining pro- 
vinces. The river Bidazoa separates it from France. 
Among the other rivers, all of which are small except 
the Ebro, is one named the Aragon, which might be 
supposed to have given its appellation to that kingdom, 
were it not so distant from its frontier. The track of 
country on the left side of the Ebro, still distinguished 
as High Aragon, may, however, have extended at one 
time as far as this stream. These mountainous 
regions are little known to modern travellers. La- 
borde represents the mountains of Aragon more 
especially, as rich in all kinds of mineral treasures.* 
The highest is Mount Cayo, situated between Navarre, 
Aragon, and Old Castile, and commanding almost the 
whole of Aragon. It is almost a continued ascent 
from Valtierra to Agreda, built on its summit, a dis- 
tance of nine leagues. 

Our last route will lead us through part of the 
province of Biscay, in proceeding 

Pamplona, at the expense of many battles, till, reduced to the 
last extremity, it surrendered to General Espana, in Nov. 1813. 
A price was set upon his head by Bonaparte, from the end of 
1811 to the conclusion of the Peninsular war. This man, almost 
worthy of being styled the Spanish Koscuisko, has been compelled 
to seek in England a refuge from the perjured Ferdinand. 

* Laborde mentions a hill called Cueva Rubia to the north of the 
village Concud, a league from Teruel, which seems to present a 
phenomenon similar to the hyena cave in this country, which has 
employed the speculations of geologists. The interstices of the 
rocks, he says, are full of bones of oxen, the teeth of asses and 
horses, the bones of smaller domestic animals, and human shin and 
thigh bones ; none of them in a fossil state. The best account of 
the face of the country between Eayonne and the frontier of Castile, 
will be found in Dillon's Travels. 

SPAIN. 271 


IT is a distance of nearly twelve leagues from 
Burgos to the town of Miranda on the Ebro. For 
the first nine, the road lies over a succession of bare 
hills and fertile valleys,* till the lofty Sierra d'Oca 
seems to block up all further progress. At length, at 
the village of Pancorvo, the traveller enters a defile 
that winds through the sierra beneath immense piles 
of impending rocks, " some rough, like grotto-work, 
some slanting and fluted ; some shaped like hideous 
monsters crouched near each other, their heads scowl- 
ing down on the road as if they were placed there to 
defend it. Some of gigantic dimensions stand erect 
like sentinels on each side of the pass ; some project 
over it, whose weight, should they fall, would crush the 
traveller to dust. Some appear like pillars of Cyclopean 
gates ; others like ruined arches. There is one 
groupe of four or five hundred smaller rocks, which 
occupies the whole side of one of these mountains; 
and it requires scarcely an effort of imagination to 
assign to them the shapes of human beings enveloped 
in hoods and mantles. Men and mules moving 
through these strange scenes, appear reduced to 
diminutive forms ; and the works of men standing 
among them, looked like the playthings of an infant." 
The road is very good. Miranda is well situated, 
and protected by a fortress on a high rock ; but the 
buildings are poor, and the gates and streets so narrow 
as scarcely to admit a carriage. The plain is of great 
extent, bounded to the west by the blue mountains 

* The six leagues between Bribiesca and Burgos, Bourgoing 
says, are the most patched and naked district in Europe. 

272 SPAIN. 

of Asturias, in which the Ebro has its source.* The 
soil is a rich loam, formed by the frequent inundations 
of the river, which is here crossed by a very fine 
bridge. The road ascends from the plain to a gravelly 
country planted with vines ; and at Puebla de Trivino, 
enters Alava, a district of Biscay. " Every thing 
round us," says Mr. Swinburne (in 1776), " now 
assumed a different appearance. Instead of the bare 
depopulated hills, the melancholy despondent counte- 
nances, the dirty inns and abominable roads, that our 
eyes had been accustomed to for so many months, we 
were here revived by the sight of a rich culture, a 
clean-looking, smiling people, good furniture, neat 
houses, fine woods, good roads, and safe bridges." 
At about five leagues and a half from Miranda, the 
traveller arrives at the city of Vittoria, situated in 
the midst of a well-cultivated plain, abounding with 
villages. Swinburne says, that being " placed on a 
hill, it makes a figure from all the environs ; but the 
streets are narrow and gloomy, the houses being built 
of a very dark-coloured stone." M. Bourgoing de- 
, scribes it as, for the most part, ill-built and ill-paved. 
In the Recollections of the Peninsula, it is styled "a 
very clean town, with a very handsome square, 
excellent houses, good shops, and a well supplied 
market." Mr. Quin passed through this "large and 
handsome city " in 1823. It was then crowded with 
soldiers, and its entrances were defended with new, 
rough, temporary walls, with port-holes. There are 
some fine streets, he says, in most of which a con- 
siderable degree of industrious activity appeared to 
prevail. He looked into three or four of the principal 

* This river formed the southern boundary of the conquests of 

SPAIN. 273 

churches : they are " gloomy without being solemn, 
richly gilt, and decorated with paltry wooden images." 
A small but handsome theatre had recently been 
finished. Laborde enables us to reconcile these ac- 
ccrunts by stating, that Vittoria is divided into the 
old and new towns, to which a different appearance 
attaches. It contains, he says, four parishes, three 
monasteries, three nunneries, five chapels, and 1,000 
houses, besides about 2,000 in the suburbs, containing 
altogether about 6,500 inhabitants. " Yet, it is pre- 
tended," he adds, " that in the reign of Juan II., at 
the commencement of the fourteenth century, the 
population had decreased, though it then amounted to 
18,000 persons." It was founded by Don Sancho, 
king of Navarre. Why it received the name of 
Victory, does not appear ; but, to an Englishman, it 
has become a most appropriate and significant designa- 
tion of the place.* Mr. Quin describes the heights 
south of Vittoria as poorly cultivated, wild, and steep ; 
but, he adds, " they are the heights of La Puebla ; 
amid which that battle was fought by the Duke of 
Wellington, which was soon followed by the expulsion 
of the French troops from the Peninsula. I looked 
round for a column, or a memorial of some sort ; but 
there is not even a grey stone set up to mark the cold 
depositories of so many English hearts and arms. 
These mountains are their only monuments." 

Having traversed the rich plains of Vittoria, the^ 

* In the plain of Vittoria, a general engagement took place be- 
tween the British, under Wellington, arid the French, under Mar- 
shal Jourdain, on the 21st of June, 1813, in which the latter were 
defeated, with the loss of their whole baggage and artillery, which 
they abandoned in their retreat to Pamplona. The right of the 
French, before the battle, was stationed near the city, their centre 
commanded the valley of the Zadorra, and their left rested on the 
lofty heights which rise above Puebla. 

274 SPAIN. 

traveller ascends the hills, which are wooded with 
oak, beech, and chestnut; and at Salinas, a village 
inhabited by the workmen of some iron-forges, he has 
entered the very heart of the mountains. They 
would be impassable, from the steep ascents and 
rapid slopes, had they not lessened the difficulties by 
proper windings of the road, and by great attention to 
the keeping of it in perfect repair. The tops of all 
the mountains are crowned with forests, or covered 
with pastures; the acclivities are cultivated as far as 
their nature will allow ; and the deep valleys are 
thronged with hamlets, iron-works, orchards, and 
gardens. The timber of the mountains and the iron 
smelted in the forges, employ a great number of hands, 
and give life and spirit to the whole province. It is a 
distance of five long leagues from Vittoria to Mon- 
dragon, and two leagues further to Vergara, a small 
town, where the traveller leaves the canton of Alava, 
and enters Guipuscoa. A little beyond this place, a 
road leads off to the left to Durango, in the direction 
of Bilbao. Beyond Durango, the road is impassable 
for carriages ; and to pass from Bayonne to Bilbao 
with convenience, the traveller must go by way of 
Vittoria. There is, however, a very tolerable road 
direct from Madrid to Bilbao, by way of Ordunna. 

A very high and steep mountain is crossed between 
the village of Ansuela and Villa Real. The road then 
passes through Villa Franca and the small town of 
Alegria ; and at three leagues from Vergara, descend- 
ing into a charming valley, leads to Tolosa. The 
landscape here on every side approaches the nearest, 
in Mr. Swinburne's opinion, to the environs of La 
Cava in the kingdom of Naples, or those of Tivoli in 
the Roman states, of any which he had met with in 
the course of his travels. Tolosa (Iturissa) is situated 

SPAIN. 275 

on the rivers Oria and Araxes. It is a handsome 
town, containing one parish-church, one monastery, 
one nunnery, and above 4,000 inhabitants. The 
streets are well paved and lighted, and there is a large 
market every Saturday. The next five leagues and a 
half, to Hernani, lie over beautiful hills, rich with foliage 
and cultivation, and studded with white cottages. From 
time to time, the little stream of the Oria is seen 
coursing among the rocks, or escaping from them in 
cascades in its way to the plain. On gaining the 
summit of a wooded hill, a magnificent prospect is 
gained of the Bay of Biscay, Fontarabia, Andaye, the 
course of the Bidazoa, and a prodigious range of the 
Pyrenees. Half a league beyond Hernani, is Irun, 
a small town consisting of one street, on a rugged 
declivity, hemmed in by mountains on one side, and 
the sea on the other. At the end of a mile and a 
half further, the traveller arrives at the Bidazoa, " a 
broad, clear stream, that issues with great majesty out 
of a valley among the mountains, and flows through 
the marshes into the sea." On crossing at the ferry, 
he lands in France.* 

A very fine road, made not many years ago, leads 
off from Hernani to St. Sebastian, a distance of seven 

* " It is universally known, that there are three high roads 
leading from France into Spain ; one from St. Jean de Luz to 
Irun ; another from St. Jean Pied-de-Port to Roncevalles ; the 
third from Boulon to Jonquiere. But it is far from being so gene- 
rally known, that, from the pass of Bagnouls, which is the nearest 
to the Mediterranean, to the valley of the Aran, near the sources of 
the Garonne, there are no fewer than seventy -five passes over the 
Pyrenees, twenty-five of which are practicable for cavalry, and 
seven for carriages and artillery. One of these is the Col des Orts, 
in a parallel line with that of Perthus on the other side of Belle- 
garde, by which route the Spaniards, in 1 792, entered St. Laurent 
de Cerda, and thence invaded two of the French provinces." 
BOUBGOJNG, vol. i. p. i. 

276 SPAIN. 

leagues. It runs through a country in many places 
of an ungrateful soil, and at length, over a cluster of 
mountains, from the summit of which there is a bird's- 
eye view of St. Sebastian. The town of Fontarabia 
lies out of the road on the right. This town (by the 
Spaniards called Fuenta Rabia Fons Rapidus) is a 
fortified town, and is deemed one of the keys of Spain ; 
but its walls were levelled to the ground by the British 
troops previously to their entering France in 1813. 
It is situated on a small peninsula on the coast, on 
the left bank of the Bidazoa, and has what would be 
a harbour, were it not left dry by the tide. On the 
land side, it is protected by the sierra of Jasquevel. 
The ancient name of the city was Ocaso. The road 
to St. Sebastian lies through Renteria, a small tewn 
in the valley of Oyarzo, and thence over a sandy heavy 
soil. This little city, the capital of Guipuscoa, is con- 
nected with the continent by a low and narrow neck 
of land. Its port, " if that name can be with pro- 
priety applied to an artificial shelter afforded by a mole 
for fifteen or twenty merchant-vessels, is commanded 
by an eminence, on which is an ancient castle in ruins. 
From various points of a sloping and spiral walk which 
conducts to this castle, the smallness of the port is 
particularly striking." The town is neatly and regu- 
larly built, and exhibits a scene of extraordinary ac- 
tivity. It contains three parishes, two monasteries, 
and three nunneries, and between 12 and 13,000 in- 
habitants. It was taken by the French in 1808, and 
remained for five years in their possession ; but, after 
the battle of Vittoria, was taken by the British on 
the 31st of August, 1821, after a severe bombardment 
and sanguinary conflict, in which the greater part of 
it was laid in ashes. 

A short league to the E.N.E. of St. Sebastian is 

SPAIN. 277 

the port of Passage, formerly the depot of the Gui- 
puscoa (or Caracas) company. The road lies along 
the shore at the foot of mountains encircling a capa- 
cious bay, which has the aspect, on the first view, of a 
vast lake, rather than a gulf of the ocean. This is 
the harbour of Passage, which must be crossed in order 
to reach the town of that name. "At the moment 
of embarkation," says M. Bourgoing, "it is interest- 
ing to observe a number of young Biscayans disputing, 
in their singular language, which the majority of 
Spaniards themselves do not understand, who shall 
obtain the honour of presiding at the helm during this 
momentous voyage of half a league.* The town is 
built on a very confined spot between the mountains 
and the bay, and is commanded by a castle, which, 
from one side, furnishes a view of this immense basin, 
and, on the other, a prospect of the open sea. This 
port of Passage, one of the largest and perhaps the 
most secure in Europe, is of infinite importance to the 
prosperity of Biscay." Laborde, however, states, that 
except a narrow channel which crosses it, this bay is 
always dry during the low tide. 

The city of tfce greatest consequence in all Biscay 
is Bilbao (Belvao, good ford), the ancient Flaviobrigra, 
and the capital of Biscay Proper. Bourgoing represents 
it as having lost much of its ancient opulence and 
industry, its tanneries having fallen into decay, but 
its commerce is immense. The greater part of the 
wool exported by Spain, is shipped at this port, besides 

- * M. Laborde informs us, that " pretty Biscayan women, whose 
complexions are rather tanned, are the pilots and mariners in the 
passage-boats." The bay is so enclosed, that nothing is to be feared 
from wind or storm. Dillon says : " The Biscayan women work 
as much as the strongest men ; unload the ships, carry burthens, 
and do all the business of porters." 

278 SPAIN. 

a considerable quantity of iron and chestnuts, the chief 
produce of this canton. Foreigners are not permitted 
to rent houses in Bilbao, owing to " an austere and 
jealous spirit of liberty, which exercises in this place a 
species of tyranny ; " but the prohibition is evaded by 
hiring a house in the name of a native ; and among 
the 200 commercial houses which Bilbao is reckoned 
to contain, are several Irish, some German, and a few 
French. The population, prior to the war, was com- 
puted at 14,000. There are four parishes, three nun- 
neries, a chapel, and two asylums. The houses are 
solidly built, and many of them are lofty and hand- 
some. The streets are well paved and clean. Though 
damp, and built chiefly on piles, the town is remark- 
ably healthy. It stands at the mouth of the river 
Ansa, which is of sufficient depth for the reception of 
merchantmen, about forty-eight miles from St. Sebas- 
tian. About 600 vessels used to enter this harbour 

From Bilbao to Ordunna, an extent of six leagues, 
the country seems one continued village. Nothing 
can be more delightful than the continued succession 
of detached houses and gardens, which are very neat 
and well kept up. Ordunna, the only city in Biscay 
Proper, is a small place, in a pleasant valley environed 
with steep and high mountains. It contains two 
parishes, one monastery, and one nunnery. 

The three districts of Alava, Guipuscoa, and Biscay 
Proper, now comprehended in the province of Biscay, 
were all included under the ancient name of Cantabria. 
The former two were subdued by Augustus Caesar; 
but the mountaineers of Biscay appear to have main- 
tained the struggle for independence till the Romans, 
in their turn, gave way before the hordes of the North. 
The Moors were never able to penetrate the mountain- 

SPAIN. 279 

barrier. On the formation of the little kingdom of 
Oviedo, Biscay Proper and part of Alava and Guipus- 
coa were united as a dependency on that crown, under 
the high-sounding title of the dukedom of Cantabria, 
But, in the beginning of the tenth century, Biscay 
Proper revolted against Ordunno II., and elected for its 
own chief, Suria, or Zuria, said to have sprung from 
the blood-royal of Scotland, who transmitted the sove- 
reignty to his descendants. Biscay continued to be 
an independent seigniory till about the middle of the 
fourteenth century, when Pedro the Cruel, having 
put to death the rightful lord, seized on his states ; 
and since then, the kings of Spain have assumed the 
title of lords of Biscay.* 

The inhabitants of the lordship, jealous of their 
independence, still boast of their pure descent from 
the ancient Cantabrians. " Their little canton has 
gradually lost many of the privileges which established 
its independence ; it preserves, however, a shadow of 
them, which it cherishes and defends with the utmost 
jealousy. It still forms a separate state, governing 
itself by its national assemblies ; and having retained 
its ancient laws, tribunals, and customs, is, in these 
respects, totally distinct from the rest of Spain. It 
pays taxes in the form of a free gift; and, except 

* Laborde gives the following statistical view of the province. 
There are in the three districts, 725 parishes ; viz. 165 in the lord- 
ship, 125 in Guipuscoa, and 435 in Alava. Of 101 convents, 42 are 
in the lordship, 41 in Guipuscoa, 18 in Alava. The lordship is 13 
leagues from east to west, and six from north to south in the widest 
part.and contains about 1 1 6,000 inhabitants.more than half of whom 
are dispersed in detached hamlets, little known to travellers. Gui- 
puscoa, which may almost be considered as one continued mountain, 
is 18 leagues- from east to west, and 12 from north to south, and 
contains upwards of 120,000 inhabitants. Alava varies from 6 to 
1 4 leagues in length, and is 10 from north to south. The population 
is little more than 71,000. 

1'ART IV. S 

280 SPAIN. 

some quit-rents which are imposed upon it, it reserves 
the right of appointing the taxes, and assessing the 
towns and communities within its limits. Whenever 
the crown demands an extraordinary contribution, it 
is formed by gifts entirely voluntary. Stamped paper 
is not received into this province ; and every one is at 
liberty to sell tobacco and other articles, the exclusive 
gale of which the king reserves to himself in other 
places. It has no intendant j and foreign merchandise 
is subject only to a duty called anchorage, intended 
merely for the consulate. There are, besides, some 
municipal rights established upon grants. In paying 
itself what is due to the crown, the province avoids 
seizures, distraining, and every kind of vexation. 
There are no revenue-officers here, but those of the 
port ; for those of the custom-house of Valmaseda and 
Ordunna collect duties only on those articles that are 
introduced into Castile. Biscay is neither subject to 
a militia nor to an impress for sailors, nor can the 
king's troops be quartered in this province ; which 
obliges it to maintain its own police in peace, and 
provide for its own defence in time of war.* The Bis- 
cayans are originally all noble, and are considered as 
noble throughout Spain. Out of their own province, 
they are amenable to no tribunal, either in civil or 
criminal cases, except the grand judge of Biscay, who 
holds his sittings at Valladolid. This is one of the 
privileges of which Biscay, Alava, and Guipuscoa, are 
most jealous. Guipuscoa enjoys the same privileges 
as the lordship of Biscay, except that, as the frontier 
of the kingdom, it receives garrisons, and is defended 
by fortified towns j but its commandant has nothing 

* What is more remarkable, " they admit of no bishops" in 
Biscay. DILLOX, p. 169. 

SPAIN. 281 

to do with the civil administration. The canton of 
Alava having, in 1332, acknowledged the sovereignty 
of king Alfonso, that monarch confirmed to the 
inhabitants their privileges, particularly that of not 
having any new taxes imposed upon them without 
their own consent, and that of being governed ac- 
cording to the code of laws of Calahorra, which they 
had adopted."* 

"The country people wear brogues, not unlike 
those of the Highlands of Scotland, tied up with great 
neatness, being the most useful for a slippery and 
mountainous country. When they are not busy in 
the fields, they walk with a staff taller than themselves, 
which serves them to vault over gulleys, and is an 
excellent weapon in case of assault, with which they 
will baffle the most dexterous swordsman. They wear 
cloaks in the winter. The pipe is constantly in the 
mouth, as well for pleasure as from a notion that 
tobacco preserves them against the dampness of the 
air. All this, joined to their natural sprightliness and 
vigour, gives them an appearance seeming to border 
on ferocity, were it not the reverse of their manners, 
which are gentle and easy, when no motive is given 
to choler, which the least spark kindles into violence. 

"It has been observed, that the inhabitants of 
mountains are strongly attached to their country, 
which probably arises from the division of lands, in 
which, generally speaking, all have an interest. In this, 
the Biscayans exceed all other nations, looking with 
fondness on their hills as the most delightful scenes 
in the world, and their people as the most respectable, 
descended from the aborigines of Spain. This pre- 
possession excites them to the most extraordinary 

Laborde, vol. . pp. 33941. 

282 SPAIN. 

labours, and to execute things far beyond what could 
be expected in so small and rugged a country, where 
they have few branches of commerce. I cannot give 
a greater proof of their industry, than those fine roads 
they have now made from Bilbao to Castile, as well 
as in Guipuscoa and Alaba. When one sees the pas- 
sage over the tremendous mountain of Ordunna, one 
cannot behold it without the utmost surprise and 

" The manners of the Biscayans and of the ancient 
Irish are so similar on many occasions, as to favour 
the notion of the Irish being descended from them. 
Both men and women are extremely fond of pilgrim- 
ages, repairing from great distances to the churches of 
their patrons or tutelary saints, singing and dancing 
till they almost drop down from fatigue. The Irish 
do the same at their patrons. The Guizones of Biscay, 
and the Boulam-Jceighs of Ireland are nearly alike : 
at all these assemblies, they knock out one another's 
brains on the most trivial provocation, without malice 
or rancour, and without using a knife or a dagger, 
In both countries the common people are passionate, 
easily provoked if their family is slighted, or their 
descent called in question. The Chacoli of Biscay, or 
the Shebeen of Ireland, makes them equally frantic. 
The poor of Ireland eat out of one dish with their 
fingers, and sit in their smoky chimneys as well as 
the Biscayans. The brogue is also the shoe of Biscay. 
The women tie a kerchief round their heads, wear red 
petticoats, go barefooted, in all which they resemble 
the Biscayans, and with them have an equally good 
opinion of their ancient descent. The poor Biscayans, 
though haughty, are laborious and active, an example 
worthy to be imitated by the Irish. So many con- 
curring circumstances support the idea of their having 

SPAIN. 283 

been originally one people. It cannot be denied that 
the old Irish, whether from similitude of customs, 
religion, and traditional notions, or whatever else 
may have been the cause, have always been attached 
to the Spaniards, who, on their side, perhaps from 
political views, have treated them with reciprocal 
affection, granting them many privileges, 'and styling 
them even Oriundos in their laws, as a colony de- 
scended from Spain. Yet, with all these advantages, 
if we except those gallant soldiers who have distin- 
guished themselves in the field wherever they have 
served, few Irish have made a conspicuous figure in 
Spain, or have left great wealth to their families." 

The Cantabrian, or Biscayan language, is believed 
to be connected with the Celtic dialects, and, like the 
Celtic, has many words in common with the Latin ; 
it is, however, an original and very peculiar dialect. 
Its construction is extremely intricate, the verbs hav- 
ing eleven moods.* It is said to have furnished the 
Castilian with more than a hundred original words. 
A proof of its high antiquity is supplied by the fact, 
that the etymology of most of the towns, countries, 
and rivers of the Peninsula, may, it is said, be found 
in it. Thus, the Ebro is derived from ibai, river, and 
ero, violent. Turiaco, the ancient name of Tarras- 
sona, means, in Biscayan, many springs. Bria, briya, 
berria, are also Biscayan words, signifying land or 
country, bridge, dwelling : hence, Cantabria, Conim- 
briga (Coimbra), Segobriga (Segovia), &c. From 
lurre, earth, conies Illurco, and probably the word 
uri or uria, in composition. The word for father, 
atair, is almost Irish.f The Castilian is spoken by 

* Larramcndi's Biscayan Grammar, published at Salamanca in 
1729, is entitled El Impossible vencido. 
t See vol. i. p. 45 ; and Laborde, vol. ii. p. 386. 

284 SPAIN. 

the upper class, but, by the peasantry in general, it is 
not understood. So different are they altogether, says 
Bourgoing, from the inhabitants of Castile, that they 
appear to live under another government. Every 
Biscayan, who can prove his birth, is entitled to claim 
a public certificate of his being an hidalgo de sanyue ; 
and the most lofty Castilian has rivals for antiquity of 
descent in the mountaineers of Biscay and Asturias.* 
This inbred idea of their nobility is represented to 
have a striking influence on their character. A dig- 
nified mien is observable in the poorest of the race. 
They bear the reputation of being humane, hospitable, 
brave, and true to their word, less abstemious than 
the Castilians, but they never drink to intoxication. 

Having now conducted the reader back to the 
north-eastern frontier of the Peninsula, from which 
we started, we must here terminate our survey of the 
Spanish provinces. We shall be thought to have left 
ourselves but little room for the description of what a 
Portuguese deems the finest part of the finest country 
in the world. 

* Hence, in Don Quixote, Donna Rodriguez says of her hus- 
band : " Y sobre todo hidalgo como el rey, porque era montanes. 
He was as well born as the king, because he came from the 
mountains." When Sancho Panza, as governor of Barrataria, 
asks who is his secretary, he is answered by one of his attend- 
ants ; " I, sir, am the person ; for I can read and write, and am, 
moreover, a Biscayner. " "With that addition," replies Sancho, 
" you are fit to be secretary even to an emperor." 




[A kingdom occupying the western part of the Spanish Peninsula, 
extending from lat. 36 56' to 42 T N., and from long. 7 34 
to 9 30' W. ; bounded by the Minho and Galicia on the N. , 
'Leon, Estremadura, and the Guadiana, on the E. ; and the 
Atlantic Ocean on the S. and W.] 

THE kingdom of Portugal is a mere offset of the 
Spanish monarchy, and is not more distinct in its 
manners, language, and history, than the principality 
of Catalonia, or the lordship of Biscay. The ancient 
Lusitania* was a province of Roman Spain, compris- 
ing the greater part of Portugal, a part of Leon and 
Old Castile, and a considerable portion of the Spanish 
Estremadura, and having Emerita Augusta (Merida), 
on the Guadiana, for its capital. Northward, how- 
ever, it did not extend beyond the Douro; so that 

The Portuguese antiquaries, who are not less profound and 
imaginative than the Spanish, derive this name from Lysas, the sou 
of Bacchus, who is believed to have planted a colony in this coun- 
try. Others contend, that it has received its name from a king 
Lucius, who reigned over the tract of country lying between the 
Guadiana and the Douro, some fifteen hundred years before the 
Christian era. Bochart derives the ancient name of Portugal from 
Luz, which signifies in Phenician, as in Hebrew, an almond-tree. 
Col. Vallancey's etymology seems the most probable. " Lusitania," 
he says, " was so called from its plenty of herbage, whereby so 
many cattle and mares were fed and multiplied. (See Justin. 
I. xliv. c. 3.) Luis or lus, in Irish, is herbage, and tan is region 
or country ; Luis-tan, therefore, signifies the country abounding 
with herbage; a name extremely applicable to the soil of Portu- 
gal." VALLANCEY'S Anc. Hist, of Ireland, vol. iv. p. 95. 
s 2 


the territory which Portugal has gained from Galicia 
and Andalusia, is supposed to be nearly equal to what 
it has lost of ancient Lusitania. In the fifth century, 
it shared the fate of Spain in being overrun by tribes 
of Alani, Suevi, and Visigoths; and in the eighth 
century, the greater part was conquered by the 
Moors. The name of Portugal (Porto Cale] is sup- 
posed to have been originally the appellation of the 
chief town of the Christians, the present Oporto, 
when their conquests were confined to the northern 
part of the Peninsula. About the middle of the 
eleventh century, it appears to have been extended to 
the whole country so far as recovered from the 
Moorish yoke. In 1093, Henry of Burgundy, having 
rendered important services to Alfonso VI. of Castile, 
obtained, with the hand of his natural daughter, the 
government and possession of all the lands in Por- 
tugal whence he had expelled the Moors, and which 
were erected into an hereditary earldom. Alfonso 
Henriquez, who succeeded his father in 1112, having 
obtained a miraculous victory over five Moorish kings 
in the plains of Ourique,* was proclaimed, by the 
unanimous voice of his troops, king of Portugal. 
Alfonso III., in the thirteenth century, wholly ex- 
pelled the Moors from the south of the kingdom, and 
added to his royal title that of king of Algarve. The 
male line of count Henry terminated in 1383, in the 
person of Fernando, the great-grandson of the accom- 
plished and patriotic Denis or Dyniz I., the son of 
Alfonso III. Fernando was succeeded by Joam I., 
the husband of Philippa of England, daughter of the 

* The five escutcheons azure, each charged with five bezants 
argent, in the royal arms of Portugal, are" said to be in commemo- 
ration of the five Moorish kings who were slain, and the five 
wounds Alfonso received, on this memorable day. 


great duke of Lancaster. He is said to have named 
his son and successor Edward (Duarte) in honour of 
our Edward III., and he sedulously cultivated the 
friendship of the English. The reign of Emanuel, 
the most fortunate and renowned of all the Portuguese 
sovereigns, is esteemed the golden age of Portugal. 
In three years after his coronation, Vasco de Gam a 
tirst displayed his banners in India. He is described 
as a prince of the greatest temperance and humanity ; 
but he purchased the hand of Isabella of Castile with 
the blood of his Jewish subjects, which her priests 
had instigated her to demand as part of her dowry. 
On the death of the cardinal-king Henry, in 1580, 
the male line of the royal family being extinct, 
Philip II. started, among other competitors, for the 
crown of Portugal, to which he laid claim in virtue 
of his mother, the empress Isabella, daughter of 
Emanuel I. ; and his troops in three weeks reduced 
the country to submission. Portugal remained in this 
humiliated state, a mere province of Spain, oppressed 
and misgoverned at home, and exposed in her foreign 
possessions in both Indies to the attacks of the 
Dutch, till, in the year 1640, a simultaneous insur- 
rection, which had been prepared with singular cir- 
cumspection, broke forth in every town of the king- 
dom : in the space of a few hours, the yoke of Spain 
was cast off, and the duke of Bragai^a, a lineal 
descendant of King Emanuel, was proclaimed king, 
under the title of John IV. 

It is not surprising that a deep-rooted national 
antipathy should be cherished against the Spaniards, 
arising from the remembrance of their grievances, 
under the Philips. The Catalonians and the Castilians 
scarcely love each other better. There is this differ- 
ence, however, between the feelings with which the 


inhabitants of the two kingdoms respectively regard 
each other. " The Spaniards," says Dr. Southey, 
" despise the Portuguese : the Portuguese hate the 
Spaniards." The Spaniards, in their national songs, 
threaten the Portuguese with invasion : the Por- 
tuguese content themselves with defying the Span- 
iards.* " Strip a Spaniard of all his virtues, and you 
make a good Portuguese of him," says the Spanish 
proverb. " I have heard it more truly said," says 
Dr. Southey, " add hypocrisy to a Spaniard's vices, 
and you have the Portuguese character." " Almost 
every man in Spain smokes : the Portuguese never 
smoke, but most of them take snuff.f None of the 
Spaniards will use a wheelbarrow ; none of the Por- 
tuguese will carry a burthen : the one says, it is only 
fit for beasts to draw carriages ; the other, that it is 
fit only for beasts to carry burthens. All the porters 

* This proves, not that the Portuguese fear more than they are 
feared, but that the Spaniards are the greater boasters. The 
French, in like manner, talk of invading England ; and John Bull, 
secure behind his wooden walls, used to content himself with de- 
fying his neighbour. The days of Agincourt and Cressy had passed 
away, and those of Toulouse and Waterloo had not arrived. 

t It is not a little singular, that the English and the Irish should 
at one time have been distinguished in like manner as smokers and 
snuff-takers. The taking of snuff appears, however, to have been 
originally a Spanish custom, and was still in vogue when Mr. 
Howel visited Spain, in 1 620, soon after the first introduction of 
snuff into Europe. " The Spaniards and Irish," he says, " take it 
most in powder, or smutchin, and it mightily refreshes the brain ; 
and I believe there is as much taken this way in Ireland, as there is 
in pipes in England. One shall commonly see the serving-maid 
upon the washing-block, and the swain upon the plough-share, 
when they are tired with labour, take out their boxes of smutchin, 
and draw it into their nostrils with a quill, and it will beget new 
spirits in them, with afresh vigour to fall to their work again." 
Epistolee Hoelince. London, 1726. The manufacture of snuff in 
Spain is a royal monopoly. 


in Lisbon are Galegos" * Many minor points of con- 
trast, of a similar description, might be pointed out ; 
but they are not more striking than the peculiarities 
which distinguish from each other the Biscayan, the 
Galician, the Castilian, the Valencian, the Catalonian, 
the Murcian, and the Andalusian. Nor are the 
English, the Welsh, the Irish, and the Scottish High- 
landers, distinguished by characteristics less broadly 
marked, or by national antipathies originally less 
strong and apparently inveterate. Nay, the ecclesias- 
tical differences, which are in general the most deeply 
rooted and the last to give way, opposed an obstacle 
to the union of the English and Scottish crowns, which 
does not exist in the way of a similar union between 
the kingdoms of the Peninsula. 

All the considerable rivers of Portugal, the Minho, 
the Douro, the Tagus, and the Guadiana, have their 
origin in Spain. The mountains are but a continua- 
tion of the ridges which traverse the Spanish provinces 
of the Peninsula. In fact, the only natural divisions 
are those which the Romans adopted, by which the 
Peninsula was distributed into three provinces, extend- 
ing from east to west along its whole breadth. The 
modern kingdom of Portugal is about 350 miles in 
length, with an average breadth of 120, and a super- 
ficial extent of 40,875 square miles. The whole popu- 
lation of the kingdom, in 1802, did not much exceed 
three millions and a half, nearly one third of which 
number was comprised in the central province of 
Beira; but the most populous portion of the country, 
beyond comparison, lies between the rivers Minho and 
Douro, as will be seen from the following table : 

* Southey's Letters, rol. ii^p. 64. 


Provinces. Square miles. Population. 

Entre Minho e Douro 3,490 907,965 

Tras os Montes 5,450 318,665 

Beira 8,725 1,121,595 

Estremadura 9,855 826,680 

Alentejo 10,575 380,480 

Algarve 2,780 127,615 

40,875 3,683,000 

At the same period, the Portuguese colonies com- 
prised a population of nearly three millions, viz. 

Brazil and Guiana 2,400,000 

The Azores, Madeira, Angola, &c 460,000 

The East Indies 110,000 


Since the loss of the South American colonies, the 
king of Portugal has, in fact, lost two-fifths of his 
subjects, in exchange for which he has recently 
accepted the empty title of emperor of Brazil. From 
the end of the year 1807 to the beginning of 1821, the 
seat of government was transferred to Rio Janeiro, 
and Portugal was reduced to the actual condition of a 
dependent province of the empire. Deprived as it 
now is of its most important colonies, the chief source 
of its wealth, depopulated and impoverished, its com- 
merce in the hands of foreigners, its capital the seat 
of sedition and distrust, in civilisation the lowest and 
last of the countries of Christendom, Portugal scarcely 
merits the rank of an independent kingdom ; and it will 
probably be indebted for its remaining such, to the 
protection of its most ancient ally, or to the imbecility 
and degradation of Spain. Under a constitutional 
monarchy or a federal republic, they would probably 
ere long be re-united ; and though Spain can never be 
" the head of Europe," Portugal might become " the 


crown of Spain." * The sovereign of Toledo ought to 
be the lord of the Tagus. 

The only two cities of which Portugal can boast, 
the population of which exceeds 20,000 inhabitants, 
are Oporto and Lisbon, seated at the mouths of the 
Douro and the Tagus. Elvas, Coimbra, Braga, 
Setubal, and Evora, contain from 12 to 16,000 inha- 
bitants each. Beja has 9,000, and Santarem 8,000 ; 
and no other place has so many as 7,000 inhabitants. 
The manufactures throughout Portugal are in a very 
backward state. The inland trade is impeded by the 
badness of the roads, (which, for the most part; are in 
a state of nature, as they were in Spain prior to 1777,)t 
the total want of canals, and the difficulties of the 
river navigation. The exports, estimated at about 
two millions and a half sterling, consist almost 
entirely of raw produce; viz. wine, salt, and wool. 
Agriculture, and all the useful arts, are in a state of 
primeval rudeness. J Owing to the ruggedness of 

* " Europe," says Antonio de Sousa de Macedo, "is the best 
of the four quarters of the globe ; Spain is the best part of Eu- 
rope; Portugal is the best part of Spain. Europe is the prime 
part of the world ; Spain is the head of Europe ; Portugal is the 
crown of Spain." 

t " Before the ministry of Florida Blanca, there was no road in 
Spain which would admit of post travelling, except on horseback ; 
and, with the exception of the road through Galicia, from Ponte- 
vedra to Corunna, of another from Reynosa, in Old Castile, to the 
sea, and of those of Navarre and Biscay, for which the inhabitants 
are indebted solely to their own efforts, there was not a regular good 
road for ten leagues together, passable at every season of the year, 
throughout the kingdom of Spain." BOURGOING, vol. i. p. 5. 

J A recent Traveller (Mrs. Baillie) mentions a satirical work 
that had appeared in Lisbon, entitled " Adam alive again," which 
had not a little annoyed the national vanity of the self-important 
inhabitants of the " city of Ulysses." The father of mankind is 
represented as returning to earth, and making the tour of the 
world. In passing rapidly through England, France, Germany, 


the surface, the horse is but seldom employed, mules 
and asses being preferred both for travelling and 
agriculture. The depopulation and decline of the 
country may be ascribed, in great measure, as in Spain, 
to the illiberal and short-sighted policy adopted towards 
both the Jews* and the Moors, together with the 
aggrandisement of the church at the expense of every 
other class. There are in Portugal, two archbishops, 
thirteen bishops, 400 monasteries, and about 150 nun- 
neries ; also two universities, that of Coimbra, founded 
in 1308, and a smaller establishment at Evora, founded 
in 1533. 

We have already conducted our readers from Madrid 

and other countries of Europe, he is every where scandalized at 
the innovations which have been made under the name of im- 
provements, and the departure from primeval simplicity. In the 
remote parts of Germany, indeed, he is a little comforted, by per- 
ceiving some remains of venerable and primitive ignorance. But 
when- he comes to Portugal, he breathes freely. " Here," he ex- 
claims in a rapture, "here will I take up my future abode. Here 
are no nonsensical refinements, no learning, no science, no litera- 
ture ; agriculture is free from modern presumptuous innovations ; 
and so far from being pestered with what are called the Fine Arts, 
I can scarcely perceive any appearance of what are denominated 
by the ridiculous philosophers of the day, useful inventions. The 
wise, the noble, the magnanimous Portuguese, have in no respect 
altered since I left the world, and they alone are worthy of the 
honour of iny association." 

* " Till within the last fifty years, the burning of a Jew formed 
the highest delight of the Portuguese. Neither sex nor age could 
save this persecuted race ; and Antonio Josef da Silva, the best of 
their dramatic writers, was burnt alive because he was a Jew." 
Three hundred thousand Jews, in the reign of Emanuel, sub- 
mitted to baptism, to escape from the only alternative, slavery. 
But the law of Moses was still in secret transmitted from father 
to son ; and the vigilance of the Inquisition, and the martyrdom 
of their brethren, only rendered them the more circumspect. 
" The Jews still," adds Dr. Southey, "preserve their faith; and 
the true Israelite physiognomy is evident in half the people you 
meet." Letters, vol. ii. p. 112. 


to the Portuguese capital, in which route occur two of 
the chief towns, Elvas and Estreinos. We shall now 
land them at once at 


" FEW scenes," says the lively author of Recol- 
lections of the Peninsula, " can compare with that 
which feasts the eye of a traveller who, from the 
deck of a vessel in the Tagus, first gazes on Lisbon, 
rising proudly and beautifully above him. The 
northern bank of the river, on which this capital is 
built, makes a handsome and sweeping curve through- 
out the whole extent of the city, which, including its 
suburbs, covers several hills, rising more or less 
abruptly from that quarter where its quays, squares, 
and some of its most regular streets, are conveniently 
disposed. The number of palaces, convents, and 
churches, which crown this amphitheatre of buildings, 
the dazzling whiteness of the houses, the light appear- 
ance of the windows and balconies, the tasteful 
arrangement of plants, flowers, and shrubs, on their 
roofs and terraces, the golden orange-groves which 
adorn the suburbs, and the stately specimens of Indian 
or American botany which are here and there scat- 
tered through the scene, produce an effect which may 
be felt, and which may be conceived, but which can- 
not be described. Boats from the shore soon crowded 
round our vessel, and I leaned over her side to look, 
for the first time, at natives of Portugal. The dark- 
brown complexion, bare and muscular throat, expres- 
sive eye, and white teeth, together with the general 
vivacity of their deportment, strike an Englishman, 
at first, very forcibly ; their costume, too, is quite 
new to him, and, I think, very picturesque. Short 


petticoat-trowsers of white linen, a red sash, and their 
legs and arms free and naked, mark very strongly the 
difference between the boatmen of the Tagus and of the 

Thames The picturesque dress of the common 

peasants, the long strings of loaded mules, the 
cabriolets, the bullock-cars, as rude and ancient in 
their construction as those in the frontispiece to the 
Georgics of the oldest Virgils, the water-carriers, the 
lemonade-sellers, and, above all, the monks and friars 
in the habits of their orders ; the style of the houses, 
the handsome entrances, the elegant balconies, the 
rare and beautiful plants arranged in them, all raised 
around me a scene which, real as it was, seemed 
almost the deception of a theatre. In the small 
square of San Paulo we stopped, and breakfasted in a 
light, cheerful room, which looked out on the quay. 
Here, while sipping my coffee, I commanded a view 
of the noble harbour, crowded with vessels ; while 
many pilot and fishing barks, with their large, hand- 
some lateen sails, were coming up or going down the 
river ; and, nearer the shore, hundreds of small, neat 
boats, with white or painted awnings, were transport- 
ing passengers from one quay to another, or to the 
more distant suburbs of Alcantara and Belem. The 
whole of this picture was lighted up by a sun such as 
is to be met with only in a southern climate, and so 
bright that it appeared to animate every thing on 
which it shone. Immediately under the window of 
our cafe", some Moorish porters, of whom there are 
many in Lisbon, were occupied in their surprising 
labours. Their Herculean frames, small turbans, and 
striking features, and their prodigious exertions in 
lifting and carrying immense and weighty packages, 
presented to us a new and uncommon scene. My 
mind naturally reverted to that era in past ages when 


these Moors, now so degraded and, politically con- 
sidered, so insignificant, swayed the sceptre of this 
beauteous land, and when, from the very source to 
the mouth of the golden Tagus, the crescent was 
triumphantly displayed." 

A somewhat fastidious but very amusing modern 
Traveller gives a far less glowing description of the im- 
pression produced by the first view of the capital. He 
admits it to be magnificent, but thinks that it has 
been over-rated. " He who has seen London from 
Greenwich Park," he says, "may survey without 
any great astonishment the capital of Portugal. The 
finest feature is the river, compared with which the 
Thames sinks into insignificance. Each side has its 
peculiar beauties ; and I doubt whether the left bank, 
with its vineyards and orange-groves, does not attract 
the eye as much as the right, on which the town 
stands. The entire absence of smoke is a striking 
novelty to an English eye, and at first gives an idea 
that the town must be without inhabitants. 

"Though travellers may have exaggerated the 
beauties of the view, I have seen no description that 
does justice to the indescribable nastiness of the town. 
I have spoken of the view from the river as magni- 
ficent, but I believe the true epithet would have been, 
imposing y for it is mere deceit and delusion : the 
prestige vanishes at once on landing, and the gay and 
glittering city proves to be a painted sepulchre. Filth 
and nuisances assault you at every turn, in their most 
loathsome and disgusting shapes. In yielding to first 
impressions, one is generally led to exaggerate; but 
the abominations of Lisbon are incapable of any ex- 
aggeration. To walk about the streets is scarcely 
possible for an invalid. A clumsy sort of carriage on 


two wheels, driven by a postillion with a pair of mules, 
is to be hired for the day or the half day ; but not 
at a cheaper rate than one might hire a coach in 
London. A good idea of these carriages will be 
formed from the prints in the old editions of Gil Bias, 
since whose time no improvement seems to have 
taken place in vehicular architecture. 

" I have already experienced the truth of Mr. 
Bowdler's remark, that in Lisbon, under a scorching 
sun, you are constantly exposed to a cold wind. The 
Portuguese guard against this by a large great coat, 
worn loose like a mantle, with hanging, sinecure 
sleeves, and which they wrap round them, when, in 
turning a corner, they encounter the wind. The use 
of this sweltering surtout, in some shape or other, is 
universal, even in the hottest weather ; but the remedy 
is perhaps worse than the disease. 

" There is something in the appearance of Lisbon 
that seems to portend an earthquake ; and instead of 
wondering that it was once visited by such a calamity, 
I am rather disposed to consider its daily preservation 
as a standing miracle. Repeated shocks have been 
felt of late years ; and to an earthquake it may look 
as its natural death. From the vestiges which the 
indolence of the people has allowed to remain, one 
might fancy that the last convulsion had taken place 
but a few months. Many ruins are now standing just 
as the earthquake left them. Gorgeous palaces and 
solemn temples now totter in crumbling ruins, an 
awful monument of the fatal wreck. There are some 
streets, built since the earthquake, with trottoirs on 
each side, which make a handsome appearance; and 
with any industry on the part of the people, the whole 
town might be made one of the most cleanly in 


Europe, the undulating surface of the ground being so 
well calculated to carry away all impurities?" * 

Mr. Semple, who visited Lisbon twelve years before 
(1805), gives a description not much more pleasing of 
the city and its inhabitants. " This city," he says, 
" can never cease to be a place of consequence whilst 
trade and commerce flourish in Europe. Had it not 
been for political events and considerations, it would 
probably have become the capital of Spain, there being 
no situation possessed of equal advantages in the 
whole Peninsula. It is built upon several hills, 
the number of which it is not easy to ascertain amidst 
so many buildings, but which, the natives say, amount 
to seven, like those of ancient Rome. It may rather 
be said to stand upon an arm of the sea, into which 
the Tagus falls, than upon the Tagus itself, that river 
not being navigable even for boats in all its long 
course, till within twelve or fourteen leagues of Lisbon, 
and the water before the town being salt, and fre- 
quently so rough as to endanger the ships at anchor 
there. The inhabitants of Lisbon, however, who are 
jealous of the honour of their river, affirm this to be 
a frivolous distinction, and say that in the time of the 
rains, an immense body of fresh water is here brought 
down, so as often to cause more damage to the ship- 
ping than is ever occasioned by the wind and tide 
from the sea. However that may be, the situation is 
admirable ; and the town, full of churches, palaces, 
domes, and spires, rising from the edge of the water 
up the ascents and over the tops of so many hills, 
presents from the bay one of the noblest views that 
can be imagined, and superior, perhaps, to that of any 
city in the world. In whatever situation we view it 

Matthews's Diary of an Invalid, vol. i. pp. 11 14. 


during our approach, it is imposing; but when we 
land, the delusion vanishes. The streets are badly 
paved and full of filth; the houses, with here and 
there a latticed window, have a melancholy appear- 
ance; and the inhabitants, some in rags, and the 
remainder in dark-coloured clothes, render the whole 
still more gloomy. The powerful influence of cli- 
mate already becomes perceptible. The Portuguese 
are generally dark-complexioned and thin, with black 
hair, irascible and revengeful in their tempers, and 
eager in their gestures on trivial occasions. They are 
also said to be indolent, deceitful, and cowardly ; but 
they are temperate in diet, and that may be classed at 
the head of their virtues, if indeed they have many 
more to add to it. They affect to talk of the Spaniards 
with great contempt, as being perhaps the next des- 
picable nation to themselves with which they are 
acquainted. They have no public spirit, and conse- 
quently no national character. An Englishman or a 
Frenchman may be distinguished in foreign countries 
by an air and manners peculiar to his nation, and 
which he would attempt in vain to disguise ; but any 
meagre, swarthy man may pass for a Portuguese. 

" The part of Lisbon most deserving of attention is 
that which suffered so severely in the dreadful earth- 
quake of 1755. It is not merely that all the flat at 
the foot of the amphitheatre of the surrounding hills 
is rebuilt in a regular manner, and excellently paved ; 
but the ruins of great buildings still remaining on the 
tops of the heights in the heart of a populous city, 
have a singular and striking effect. Other nations 
erect monuments at a great expense, in commemora- 
tion of battles, earthquakes, and wide-wasting fires; 
but nothing can speak so home to the heart as these 


awful remains, which stand in perpetual memento to 
the inhabitants of Lisbon, of what has happened, and 
may again happen to the city." 

The latest traveller that has published a description 
of the Portuguese capital, is Mrs. Baillie, who resided 
in the country for about two years and a half, and to 
whose interesting volumes we are indebted for the 
most minute and impartial account of the inhabitants. 
Her description of the horrors of Lisbon, however, 
quite accords with that given by Mr. Matthews. The 
distant view of the city from the mouth of the har- 
bour, is described as superb in the extreme ; but all 
within the city is revolting. Of a population of 
230,000 souls,* a fifth is said to consist of negroes and 
mulattoes. In filthiness and impurity of every de- 
scription, Lisbon may vie with Constantinople ;f and 

* Mrs. Baillie states the population, on report, at 300,000 ; but 
this we imagine to be an erroneous estimate. 

t " Judge what I must suffer here," says this Traveller, " where, 
for three miles round Lisbon, in every direction, you cannot for a 
moment get clear of the disgusting effluvia that issues from every 
house. I seldom go out for this reason ; and about nine o'clock 
at night, the case becomes absolutely too bad to describe. What 
the noses of the Portuguese are made of, I am really at a loss to 
conjecture." " Every kind of vermin that exists to punish the 
nastiness and indolence of man," says Dr. Southey, "multiplies in 
the heat and dirt of Lisbon." Yet, things are not by any means 
so bad in this respect, we are told, as they were a few years ago. 
" An attempt at cleanliness was first introduced by the French, 
who ordered all the dogs to be shot, and obliged the natives to 
exert human labour in cleansing the streets from the worst species 
of impurity; but after the departure of these salutary task- 
masters, the Portuguese once more returned to their dogs and 
their dirt. The example of the English has since effected some 
melioration in their habits and customs ; so much so, indeed, that 
even in the city, there are two or three streets which are preserved 
by the police in a stace of comparative purity." EAILLI^'S Lisbon, 
vol. i. p. 218 


the heat, in summer, is such as " only a native or a 
salamander can subsist in." The mosquitoes then 
commence their campaign, and a restless feverish 
night succeeds to the sultry day. If you read at night 
in summer, it is necessary to be armed with boots. 
The scolopendra is not uncommonly found here, and 
snakes sometimes intrude into the bed-chambers. To 
these insect plagues, is to be added, a small species of 
red ant that swarm over every thing sweet. The 
Portuguese remedy is, to send for a priest to exor- 
cise them.* But this is not the worst ; nor are the 
shocks of earthquake, to which Lisbon is still subject, 
the most serious drawback on the enjoyments of the 
inhabitants. The state of the police is horrible. 
Street-robbery is common, and every thief is an 
assassin. The pocket-knife, which the French troops 
are said to have dreaded more than all the bayonets 
of either the Spanish or the Portuguese, is here the 
ready weapon of the assassin ;f and the Tagus re- 
ceives many a corpse on which no inquest ever sits, 
which is only seen, perhaps, by the solitary fisherman 
as it floats on to the ocean, there to lie unknown and 
unregistered till the sea shall give up its dead. The 
morals, in fact, of all classes in Lisbon, appear to be in 
a dreadful state. 

The public buildings of Lisbon present little that is 
interesting or attractive. The Marquis of Pombal, 
says Dr. Southey, " ordered all the churches here to 
be built like houses, that they might not spoil the 
uniformity of the streets. This villanous taste has 
necessarily injured the appearance of the city." The 
decorations of the churches are offensively tawdry, 
and the profusion of badly-executed carved work, gilt 

* Southey, vol. ii. p. 83. t See vol.i. p. 217. 


and painted, fatigues the eye. The mosaic pictures 
in the church of San Roque are, however, pronounced 
by Dr. Southey more excellent than he could possibly 
have believed.* The cathedral contains little worthy 
of notice, but is remarkable for having a little chapel 
built immediately before its front, on the spot where 
San Antonio was born, "the generalissimo" of the 
Portuguese army of saints. Lisbon, like most of the 
Spanish cities, has its squares or pracas. The prin- 
cipal one is the Praca do Commercio (formerly called 
Terreiro de Pace), which is very handsome. One 
front of it is open to the river, and there are flights 
of stone steps descending to the water. The northern 
wing is occupied by the custom-house. A lofty piazza 
runs round two sides of it, which is used by the mer- 
chants as an exchange. In the centre is an equestrian 
statue of Joseph I., in bronze, of enormous propor- 
tions ; it was modelled by Machado de Castro, a native 
artist, and has considerable merit. It is remarkable 
also as being the only one of the kind ever erected 
in honour of a Portuguese sovereign.*!" Three well- 
built uniform streets communicate between this 
square and the Roscio, in which stands the Inquisi- 
tion ; over the pediment in the centre, Religion is 
represented trampling on a prostrate heretic. " Let 
no one imagine, however," says Mrs. Baillie, "that 
either of these places at all resembles Grosvenor or 
Portman Square. At this time, the one was filled 

* This church formerly belonged to the Jesuits, to whom these 
mosaics, executed at Rome, were presented by King Joam V., in 

t The famous Marquis de Pombal was the promoter of the 
work, and his portrait, in bronze, was placed on the side of the 
pedestal. On his dismissal it was meanly torn down by his enemies. 
" I am glad of it," he coolly remarked, on being informed of it ; 
" for it was not like me." The city arms occupy its place. 



with loose and blinding sand, equally scorching to the 
eyes and to the feet, and neither was adorned with a 
single shrub or blade of grass. Of the streets leading 
from the Roscio, one (Gold Street) is occupied by the 
shops of jewellers ; another (Silver Street) is chiefly 
inhabited by silversmiths ; and a third, by cloth-mer- 
chants and embroiderers. Other trades have also 
their streets, called in like manner after the branch of 
trade to which they are appropriated. The houses 
above the shops, as in Paris, are let in separate floors. 
Near the Roscio is a small but cool and shady pro- 
menade, called the Salitre. The only theatres are 
the Italian opera-house (San Carlos) and the Portu- 
guese theatre. The latter is an ugly and ill-contrived 
building, but has a fine orchestra." 

The finest object in Lisbon is the great aqueduct, 
the work of Manuel de Maya in 1738, the noblest 
structure of the kind which has been erected in 
Europe since the time of the Romans. " It is, per- 
haps, the last also," remarks Mr. Semple, " that will 
be erected for the sole end of carrying water for com- 
mon purposes ; the discovery, that fluids when con- 
veyed in pipes will rise to nearly their level, superseding 
the use of such stupendous structures. It consists of 
thirty-five arches, the centre one of immense height ; 
but they are greatly too narrow in proportion, when 
viewed from a little distance.* The inhabitants of 
Lisbon boast that they are the highest single arches 

* The width of the centre arch, Mr. Matthews says, is 107 
French feet, and the height 230. This agrees with Murphy. The 
Author of Recollections of the Peninsula, without giving his 
authority, states the breadth at 240 feet, and the height at 340, 
which must be an error. Fourteen of the arches are pointed, the 
rest semicircular. No part of it appears to have received the least 
injury from the earthquakes. 


in the world, which may be true ; but a double or 
triple row would have been equally useful, and far 
more elegant. A noble pathway, bordered by a wall 
of solid blocks of stone, leads across the summit, 
nearly on a level with the water, which makes a per- 
petual running sound in the inside. The sound is 
echoed along the arched stone roof of the aqueduct, 
and excites a pleasing sensation in the mind of the 
passenger, who, turning to the other hand, and look- 
ing over the parapet, beholds beneath him, at a great 
depth, the stony bed of a considerable stream under 
the centre arcb, and which, in winter, must run with 
all the fury of a mountain torrent. Over this stream 
a bridge is thrown, and a road leads through the 
valley, the travellers on which, when viewed from 
above, seem diminished in size to the circumference 
of their hats. Upon the whole, this aqueduct is 
justly a national boast among the Portuguese ; and 
in a country where so few great undertakings, not 
connected with religion, are carried to perfection, it 
stands like a giant amidst pigmies and abortions. It 
is singular, that the same nation has erected in 
America, the only great, perhaps the only aqueduct 
which exists in all that continent. It is near the town of 
Rio Janeiro, and is thrown across a valley wider than 
that near Lisbon. I only saw this last at some little 
distance; yet, I cannot help thinking that the two 
were constructed at no great distance of time from 
each other, and that whichever was the first, served 
as a model to the second." 

On the banks of the Tagus, about five miles S.W. 
of Lisbon, is situated the magnificent church and 
monastery of Belem, founded by king Emanuel in 
1499, where are interred many of the royal house. It 
is a noble Gothic building, with handsome cloisters. 


exhibiting some good specimens of arabesque orna- 
ments, and the grand entrance of the church is 
adorned with curious sculpture. At a little distance 
is Bom Successo, a small convent of Irish nuns. 
Belem, though considered as a distinct village, is, in 
fact, one of the suburbs, being connected with the city 
by buildings extending all the way along the side of 
the river. This is the case with several other ham- 
lets. At Belem, there is a castle and a battery 
running out into the water. Here also are the 
museum and the botanic garden. At the entrance of 
the garden stand two very ancient statues, dug up at 
Montalegre in 1785, which have afforded ample scope 
for the speculations of antiquaries. The one is 
somewhat larger than the other, but both are in the 
same attitude, that of a man holding with both hands 
a small round shield. " They are evidently too rude 
to be the production of an age far advanced in civilisa- 
tion, yet are much superior to the efforts of a bar- 
barous one." They have been supposed to be of a 
date anterior even to the Carthaginian conquest.* 
The museum is small, but rich in South American 

The cemetery belonging to the British Factory, f 
the only exposed burying-ground in Lisbon, is very 
picturesquely situated on the north-west side of the 
city, and is shaded with fine cypresses. Here, without 
a monument to mark the spot, lie the remains of 
Henry Fielding. A French consul, about thirty years 
after the death of Fielding, caused a small monument 
to be erected, at his own expense, to the memory of 

* See page 133 of this volume. 

t It was assigned to the English in pursuance of an article in 
the treaty of alliance between England and Portugal, during the 
protectorate of Oliver Cromwell, about A.D. 1655. 


the English Novelist, in the cloister of the Franciscan 
convent, with an epitaph in French. Neither the 
monument nor the inscription, however, is in the 
best taste. A new English chapel, built here at the 
expense of the Factory, was opened in 1823 ; " capable," 
Mrs. Baillie says, " of containing the whole British 
population of Lisbon, which may amount at present 
to about 800 persons, a portion of which are Irish 
Roman Catholics. One part of these grounds was 
appropriated to those who fell in the Peninsular war. 
The Dutch also possess a share of the enclosure, as 
well as the German Protestants, who have a chapel of 
their own, not far from the convent of the Necessi- 

The costume of the lower orders of Lisbon, Mrs. 
Baillie says, would not be unbecoming, " if they had 
a more thorough notion of personal cleanliness : when 
they walk out, it invariably consists (in summer or in 
winter) of a long, ample cloth cloak, generally of a 
brown, black, or scarlet colour, with a deep, falling 
cape, called a ' capote,' which forms a graceful 
drapery, both to men and women. The latter wear a 
white muslin handkerchief, doubled cornerways, care- 
lessly thrown over their dark braided locks, and 
fastened beneath the chin. When they go to mass on 
festivals or Sundays, they carry a fan in the hand, 
and frequently assume an air of gravity and import- 
ance bordering upon the supercilious; this, however, 
exists chiefly among the old women ; the younger ones 
have a gay, cheerful expression of countenance, and 
quick, glancing eyes, as brilliant and as dark as jet. 
All wear pink, green, or yellow silk shoes, or even 
white satin, and worked stockings, (the latter knitted 
very ingeniously by the peasants), even in the midst 
of the most disgusting dirt and mud : the trade of 
T 2 


shoemaker must be a profitable one in this country . 
The class one step higher in the scale of society, in- 
dulge in tawdry, ill-chosen finery, in sorry imitation 
of the French and English fashions ; but at mass, they 
exchange this gaudy attire for a black silk gown and 
a deep transparent veil, of the same sombre hue, which 
latter they throw over their heads without any other 
covering, even in the coldest day of winter. Their 
religion induces this chastity of taste in decoration, 
and I wish it produced an equally beneficial result in 
other respects ! Some few youthful faces which I 
have seen, appear pretty enough; the great charm 
being produced by the dark and brilliant eye and 
depth of eyelash, to which I have already alluded ; 
and although the complexion is generally sallow, and 
almost without exception brown, I have once or twice 
remarked a very rich and beautiful glow, like the 
bloom of a crimson carnation, upon the cheek. The 
old women appear to me, from the specimens I have 
hitherto seen, to be invariably hideous. We are given 
to understand, that the higher the rank of the people 
in this country, the plainer in feature they generally 
become, and that, with some few exceptions, it is 
among the peasantry alone that true beauty exists."* 

* The Author of Recollections of the Peninsula, with whom, 
Mrs. Baillie remarks, " every object is couleur de rose, his glowing 
imagination reflecting its own splendid tints on all he sees," de- 
scribes the Portuguese women in much more favourable terms. 
" The Portuguese," he says, " have often been described by tra- 
vellers as very negligent in their persons, and very dirty in their 
dress and appearance. I confess I did not find them so. On the 
contrary, I had occasion to remark, that all the middling and upper 
classes were very particular both as to the fineness and whiteness 
of their linen. The middle-sized plump form, black, bright, and 
expressive eyes, and regular teeth of a dazzling whiteness, are the 
peculiar characteristics of the beauty of a Portuguese female, and 
constitute here, as they would any where else, a very pretty 


" Among the peasantry who come into Lisbon from 
the country, especially on Sundays, it is easy," Mr. 
Semple says, " to observe a number of particulars in 
dress and manners, which must be referrrd to a Celtic 
origin. Instead of hats, they frequently wear caps or 
bonnets. The ancient plaid, too warm to be carried 
in this climate as a cloak, is converted into a party- 
coloured sash, which they wear round the middle, and 
in which they uniformly carry a dirk or long knife; 
and their favourite instrument of music is the bagpipe, 
adorned with ribbons, exactly similar to that used in 
the Highlands of Scotland. To the sound of this very 
instrument, two or three of them together dance a 
kind of reel ; or, if the tune be slow and solemn, the 
piper walks backward and forward, amidst a silent and 
attentive crowd. In their lively dances, they raise 
their hands above their heads, and keep time with 
their castanets. The Scotch Highlanders observe 
exactly the same practice ; and I am fully persuaded, 
that their strong snapping of the fingers is in imitation 
of the sound of the castanet." 

Mrs. Baillie, who had repeated opportunities of an 
insight into the customs of the peasantry, speaks of 
them in very high terms. " I delight," she says, 
" in the peasantry here" (at Cintra) ; " they are 
really a fine race of people." But she adds : " We 
are more and more amazed, the longer we remain in 
this country, at that ignorance, or, at best, that 
superficial knowledge of the commonest arts, which 
exists among the Portuguese. A carpenter here is the 
awkwardest and most clumsy artisan that can be ima- 
gined, spoiling every work he attempts : the way in 

woman. Neither is the stature of the men in Lisbon, though 
certainly lower than that of Englishmen, so diminutive as has 
been often represented." 


which the doors and other wood-work belonging even 
to good houses are finished, would really have suited 
the rudest ages. Their carriages of all kinds, more 
particularly their waggons and carts, their agricul- 
tural implements and management, their cutlery, locks 
and keys, &c., are ludicrously bad. Their soil, rich 
and fertile, their climate, so favourable to the growth 
of almost all vegetation, seems, in a great measure, to 
be lost upon them ; and, in short, (if I am to judge by 
the little I have seen, and to credit entirely what 
others tell me,) the state of society, and the progress of 
civilisation in all classes, are so infinitely below par, so 
strikingly inferior to the rest of Europe, as to form 
a sort of disgraceful wonder in the midst of the nine- 
teenth century." 

Cintra* (Mow Cynthia) is the Richmond of Lisbon: 
hither, in the summer months, the citizens repair on 
the Saturday night, to spend the Sunday, returning 
to Lisbon on the Monday. Yet, it is by no means 
a favourite residence with the natives : almost every 
quinta is suffered to go to ruin, and the houses even of 
the nobility are in a dilapidated state. Lord Byron 
has not spoken too poetically of the varied beauties of 
this Portuguese Elysium : 

" The horrid crags, by topling convent crown'd, 
The cork-trees hoar, that clothe the shaggy steep, 
The mountain moss, by scorching skies imbrown'd, 
The sunken glen, -whose sunless shrubs must weep, 
The tender azure of the unruffled deep, 

* " I can add little to the warm tints of description," says Mr. 
Matthews, " that have so justly been lavished upon Cintra, the 
beauties of which are heightened by the contrast of the barren 
and uninteresting country all around it. I should compare it 
with Malvern ; but to the heights of Malvern must be added 
some hundred feet of perpendicular rock. But, however superior 
Cintra may be to Malvern in itself, the view from it is much less 
pleasing. Instead of the fertile valleys of Worcestershire, the eye 
has nothing to repose on, but a dreary and barren waste." 


The orange tints that gild the greenest bough, 
The torrents that from cliff to valley leap, 
The vine on high, the willow branch below, 
Mix'd in one mighty scene, with varied beauty glow." 
"I know not how to describe to you," says Dr. 
Southey, " the strange beauties of Cintra. It is, 
perhaps, more beautiful than sublime ; more grotesque 
than beautiful ; yet, I never beheld scenery more cal- 
culated to fill the mind with admiration and delight. 
This immense rock, or mountain, is in part covered 
with scanty herbage; in parts, it rises into conical 
hills, formed of such immense stones, and piled so 
strangely, that all the machinery of deluges and vol- 
canoes must fail to satisfy the inquiry for their origin. 
Nearly at the base stands the town of Cintra and its 
palace, an old irregular pile, with two chimneys, each 
shaped like a glass-house. But the abundance of wood 
forms the most striking feature in this retreat from 
the Portuguese summer. The houses of the English 
are seen scattered on the ascent, half hid among cork- 
trees, elms, oaks, hazels, walnuts, the tall canes, and 
the rich green of the lemon-gardens. On one of the 
mountain eminences stands the Penha convent, visible 
from the hills near Lisbon. On another are the ruins 
of a Moorish castle, and a cistern within its bound- 
aries, kept always full by a spring of the purest water 
that rises in it.* From this elevation the eye stretches 
over a bare and melancholy country, to Lisbon on the 
one side, and, on the other, to the distant convent of 

* The walls of this cistern are built of hewn stone, with three 
pilasters at each side, which are continued in arches as bands to 
the vault with which it is covered. The water of this cistern 
jr bath is four feet deep ; and, what is very remarkable, it neither 
increases nor diminishes, winter or summer, though it has no 
apparent source ; and, though never cleaned, it is always trans- 
parent, and the sides und bottom are free from weeds or sediment." 
MURPHY, p. 245, 


Mafra; the Atlantic bounding the greater part of the 
prospect. ... I cannot, without a tedious minuteness, 
describe the ever-varying prospects that the many 
eminences of this wild rock present, or the little 
green lanes, over whose bordering lemon-gardens the 
evening wind blows so cool and rich." * 

The Cork Convent, so much noticed by all the 
visitors of Cintra, " is a hermitage partly burrowed be- 
tween the rocks which serve as vaults to the church, 
sacristy, and chapter-house, and partly built over the 
surface. The subterranean apartments are lighted by 
holes, cut obliquely in the rocks, and lined internally 
with cork, to guard against humidity : hence it is 
called the Cork Convent. It is inhabited by about 
twenty hermits of the most rigid order of St. Francis. 
They are governed by a prior, and live chiefly on fish, 
fruit, and bread. Each has a separate cell, about the 
size of a grave, furnished with a matrass." t 

"The valley of Collares (or Coulanes,) extending 
from the village of Cintra, is one of the richest and 
best cultivated spots in the kingdom. The greater 
part of it is planted with fruit-trees, particularly 
orange ; and though they are so close together that 
their boughs intertwine, yet they bear vast quantities 
of delicious fruit. The fruit and green markets of 
Lisbon are chiefly supplied from this luxuriant garden. 
Musk and water-melons grow in it in such abundance, 
that the inhabitants sell them during the season for a 
penny a piece. Of the peculiarity of the soil about 
this district, Carcavella furnishes a striking in- 
stance, where there is a vineyard of no considerable 
extent, that yields grapes different from those of any 
other part of the kingdom. The name of its wine is 
well known all over Europe." 

* Southey's Letters, vol. ii. p. 202. t Murphy, p. 256. 


The Marquis of Marialva has a fine mansion here, 
in the hall of which was signed the disgraceful Conven- 
tion of Cintra. Here, too, 

" Vathek, England's wealthiest son, 
Once form'd his paradise," 

the quinta of Montserrat, described by Mrs. Baillie 
as by far the most picturesque place in the vicinity. 
" It comprises," she says, " every feature of beauty 
and sublimity which Cintra has to boast, being 
situated upon very elevated ground, in the bosom of a 
wood of cork-trees, surrounded by orange-trees and 
rocky fountains ; hemmed in on three sides by moun- 
tains, (among which are those crowned by the Penha 
convent, and the Moorish castle,) and open on the 
other to the level champaign country, rich in vine- 
yards and corn-fields, which stretches out for about 
six miles, when it is bounded by the sea. The man- 
sion itself had a singular charm for me, delighting, 
as I have ever done, in those which call up images of 
romantic associations. It was originally built by a 
rich Englishman,* in the style of our own villas, and 
was in consequence distinguished by an elegance of 
taste, a refinement of decoration, and a lightness and 
beauty of architecture, which are peculiar to buildings 
of this sort in England. Here, such a structure really 
appears as if raised by fairy hands ; so far does it 
excel the ill-contrived and tawdry style to which the 
natives of this country are generally accustomed; 
but, alas! how has this enchanted spot been neg- 
lected! and how has the beautiful house been 
suffered to fall to decay! Now become the property 
of a Portuguese family, they have evinced the most 
deplorable want of taste and feeling in regard to it, 

* Mr. Beckford, of FonthUl. 


for at this moment it is completely a ruin, a fit 
residence only for the bat and the owl, or to serve as 
a casual shelter for the wandering goat-herd and his 
shaggy flock, at those times when the wind is not high 
enough to blow down the shattered roof upon their 
heads. I never beheld so striking an image of desolate 
loveliness; and could have passed hours here in the 
indulgence of a reverie, mournful, yet fraught with a 
nameless charm, that can be comprehended only by 
the veritable children of romance. Some of the carved 
doors of the best apartments, brought, at a great 
expense, from England, were still perfect ; and some 
remains of the superb plates of glass in the light 
French windows, were yet spared by the fury of the 
wintry storms which often rage with great violence 
among the surrounding mountains and woods. The 
hall, of Grecian elegance, once opened upon a sloping 
lawn of verdant turf, studded with rare shrubs and 
flower-beds : it has now been ploughed up, but I 
could still discover traces of its former designation. A 
splendid music-room, built in the form of a rotunda, 
the roof rising in a fine dome to a considerable height, 
made the greatest impression upon my feelings. I 
tried my voice there, and was startled at the sound, 
which, as it died away, seemed to scare the long- 
sleeping echoes of the place." 

Three leagues from Cintra, is Mafra, where there 
is a palace and convent, founded by John V., in 
emulation of the royal builder of the Escurial. " It 
is a stupendous work," Dalrymple says ; " but bears 
not so noble an appearance as the Escurial, though it 
is much more decorated and richer in marble. In 
tBe palace are prodigious suites of apartments, as its 
extent is the external square, which is above 700 feet 
each side, the convent and church forming the internal. 


Here centre pride and poverty, a stately palace with 
bare walls, a sumptuous convent for supercilious 

Dr. Southey gives an interesting account of an 
excursion to Setubal (commonly called St. Ubes), a 
sea-port town, sixteen miles S.S.E. of Lisbon, contain- 
ing five churches, eleven monasteries, and about 
12,000 inhabitants. " Having crossed the river to 
Moita, we found mules ready for the journey, and 
soon entered a forest of pines, over which the hill of 
Palmella appeared with its castle. The country 
abounds with flowers that, scattered on every side 
amid the heath and sand, attracted our attention by 
their beauty and novelty ; and in every little watery 
bottom, the frogs croaked out a concert pleasant to 
the ears of one who loves the sounds of happiness. 
Ascending the hill, we looked back over the forest to 
the Tagus and the city on its opposite shore. On 
our right was a wild tract of high hills, partly 
covered with green corn, and in parts shewing their 
red soil ; a few grey-green poplars grew at their feet, 
amid cottages thinly scattered, and orange-gardens. 
At the entrance of Palmella is a handsome fountain, 
with the arms of the town and an inscription, in 
which I was somewhat amused at seeing S.P.Q.P. by 
the idea of the senate and people of Palmella. 

" The prospect as we descended, is the most beau- 
tiful I ever beheld. The same wild bold scenery on 
our right ; the country before us, and to the left, in 
the highest, state cf cultivation, abundantly wooded 
with almond-trees, now covered with their faint pink 
blossoms, and orange-groves, whose rich verdure is 

* Travels through Spain, &c. in 1774, by Major W. Dalrymple. 
4to. London, 1787. 



diversified with flowers and fruit. Every where 
around were single cottages and convents ; venerable 
piles, and picturesque to the eye, however we may 
detest the purposes to which they are applied. About 
three miles distant lay Setubal and its harbour; 
beyond, a low and feeble boundary to the scene, 
stretched the shore of Estremadura. 

" We turned our mules loose in the market-place of 
Setubal, a curious way of getting rid of the beasts, 
which the general testimony could hardly make me 
believe to be the custom, till our own practice con- 
firmed it. There is a hotel here kept by an Irish- 
man: I had expected a good house, and was completely 
disappointed. We procured a ground-floor apartment 
there, two stories above the street, in which two little 
bed-closets stood, and a third bed was placed for us in 
the room : we were three in number, and Manuel 
attended us. 

"Setubal, as seen from the water, very much re- 
sembles Corunna ; the principal street extending in the 
same manner along the strand. Cetobriga* is sup- 
posed to have stood on the opposite shore : the fisher- 
men frequently find stones in the sand ; and a Co- 
rinthian pillar, which was dug up there, now stands 
in the square of Setubal, scraped and ornamented with 
a crucifix. The great earthquake was attended with 
singular effects here : part of a wall is still remaining, 
of which about twenty yards were removed thirty feet 
further from the river, by the tide, and left still stand- 
ing. I was informed that the water threw a vessel of 
a hundred tons burthen on the roof of a house, which 
was of course destroyed. 

* " Hence, through the corruption of Cetobra, its present name, 
which has led forgers of history and credulous antiquaries to 
Noah's ark." 


" The chief object of our excursion was to visit 
the celebrated convent of Nossa Senhora da Arrabida, 
on the Arrabida mountain. This convent owes its 
origin to a miraculous image of Nossa Senhora, which 
attracts more visiters to the Arrabida than all its wild 
and glorious scenery. This image belonged to the 
chaplain of an English ship, whose name was Hakle- 
brant: during the darkness of a tempestuous night, 
when the vessel was near the shore, it was preserved 
from shipwreck by a wonderful splendour that, from 
the height of the mountain, illuminated the stormy 
sea. The tempest abated, and the sailors, in explor- 
ing the spot whence the light proceeded, discovered 
the image of the Virgin, which had fled thither from 
the ship. Believing it to be a spot chosen by the 
Blessed Mary for her worship, they erected a chapel 
there with the alms they obtained. 

" The promontory of Arrabida projects into the 
Atlantic ocean, about six miles from Setubal. The 
custom-house boat had been procured for us, and we 
departed early on Tuesday morning. We passed by 
Atun castle, which commands the mouth of the river 
Sadao,* three miles from the town. The mountain 
now opened on our view ; it was covered with trees till 
within a few years, when they were destroyed by fire ; 
the quick vegetation of the climate has supplied the 
loss to the eye, and overspread the ground with tall 
shrubs, among which a few trees still remain. We went 
between the shore and two insulated rocks, in one of 
which was a dark cavern ; many shrubs grew on the 
summit, and there was a monumental cross in memory 
of a man who had fallen from the precipice where he 
was catching birds. Near this we landed. Wine and 
oranges were procured from a venda, the only habita- 
* " The Calipos of Ptolemy." 


tion in sight; we had brought some cold fowls from 
Selubal, and the spring by which we sat, supplied us 
with excellent water. 

" Never did I behold scenery so wild and so sub- 
lime as the mountain of Arrabida presented, and 
which, continually varying as we advanced, always 
displayed some new beauty. The gum-cistus was the 
most common plant; it was luxuriantly in blossom, 
and the sun drew forth its rich balsamic fragrance. 
About three parts up stands the convent : a few cy- 
presses, an orange-garden, and an olive-yard, diversified 
the hill around it. On the summit are a number of 
little chapels, or saint-boxes ; a Dutchman could not 
have placed any ornament there more detestable to the 
picturesque eye. Rude crosses are erected on almost 
every crag; below is the Atlantic ocean. We were 
conducted to a cavern consecrated to St. Catharine. 
The entrance is down a long flight of steps, and admits 
but little light: the sea enters below, dashing the 
rocks with that loud and continual roar which accords 
as well with the feelings of the poet as of the devotee. 
Through this aperture the light ascends, and nothing 
is visible but rock and sea." 

The only very recent British travellers in Portugal 
have been our armies. We have already had occasion 
to avail ourselves of the very lively but very desultory 
volume, entitled Recollections of the Peninsula, written 
by an officer who served at the commencement of the 
campaign; and from his pages we shall glean a few 
more topographical details. 

From Lisbon, in July 1809, his regiment was 
ordered to embark for Santarem, situated about forty 
miles up the Tagus. The northern bank of the river, 
for the first six leagues, presents a continued succes- 


sion of rural beauties, convents, chapels and quintas, 
gardens and vineyards. Santarem is very strikingly 
situated, on bold, elevated ground, on the southern 
bank of Ae Tagus, which it completely commands. 
Like all other cities in Portugal, it has its convents, 
churches, and chapels ; but there is little that is re- 
markable in any of them. There is a college here, in 
which there were " not many students." The popu- 
lation is estimated at about 8,000. " In these early 
marches, the villa, the monastery, and the cottage, 
were thrown open at the approach of our troops. The 
best apartment, the neatest cells, the humble but only 
beds, were all resigned to the march-worn officers and 
men, with undisguised cheerfulness." But the writer 
reluctantly adds, that the rudeness and misbehaviour 
of the troops soon wrought a change in the kind dis- 
positions of a hospitable people. From Santarem, 
the regiment proceeded, by Golegao and Punhete, to 
Abrantes, the route often leading for miles along the 
banks of the river. Abrantes is well situated on rising 
ground, and commands the passage of the Tagus, over 
which, at this point, a bridge of boats forms a commu- 
nication with the southern provinces. The route now 
lay through plains covered with the gum-cistus, and 
over uplands clothed with heath, but uncultivated and 
uninhabited, to Niza. From this place, as far as Villa 
Velha, the country presents some truly romantic 
scenery. Here the Tagus, " forcing its narrow, deep, 
and angry course, between lofty and precipitous banks, 
which rise into brown and barren mountains, forms a 
grand and imposing picture." Crossing the river at 
this point, the regiment proceeded to Zarza la Major, 
the first town on the Spanish frontier, on the road to 
Plasencia ; it was found deserted, in consequence 
of the expected approach of the French. The houses 


were barred ; the church alone stood open ; but the 
plate and treasure had been removed. In this day's 
march, the thermometer had varied from 95 to 98.* 

The regiment were subsequently counter-marched to 
Niza, and, after halting there for a fortnight, were 
marched into cantonments in Spanish Estremadura, 
by way of Portalegre, a small town in Alemtejo. 
" The valley by which you approach Portalegre," 
says the writer, " is fertile and very beautiful. Quin- 
tas, gardens, vineyards, and corn-fields, cover the last 
six miles on your road to the city, which is airy, well- 
built, and handsomely situated on a lofty eminence, 
sheltered to the north by mountains, planted with 
vines to their very summits, and overlooked on the 
south by heights, richly clothed with wood to the very 
edge of the gray and broken ridges of rock which 
crown them. To the eastward, it commands a fine 
and boundless prospect over the undulating plains, 
which stretch in the direction of Badajos and Elvas. 
We were billeted for the night in this city, and, after 
dressing in a cool, retired apartment, which opened 
into a small orangery, I visited the cathedral : it is 
handsome, has a fine-toned organ, and the singing was 
sweet. It was the evening service, and afterwards I 
heard a requiem chanted or sung over the grave of 
some deceased person of rank ; there was a long pro- 
cession, and several monks assisted, all bearing torches ; 
surrounding the graven stone under which lay the 
mouldering remains of this wealthy corpse, or rather, 
once wealthy man, they broke forth into a fine and 
solemn strain. The number of deep and powerful 
bass voices, contrasted with the soft and feminine 
tones of the youthful choristers, produced a very grand 
effect, far superior to any thing ever heard in our ca- 
* On a subsequent day's march it rose to 100. 


thedral service. 1 am free, however, to confess, that 
the singing of some individuals in our English choirs 
is not easily to be surpassed ; still, we never hear 
that astonishing bass which peals forth from a large 
assemblage of priests and friars, and which is, at 

once, so awful and so truly imposing We continued 

our march the next day, halting at Arronches, a small, 
unimportant town, and thence proceeded the following 
morning to a bivouac under the walls of Elvas." 

In the following year, the regiment was chiefly 
stationed in different parts of Alemtejo, Beira, and 
Spanish Estremadura. On one occasion, the writer 
marched from Niza, by way of Villa Velha, Sarnadas, 
and Castel Branco, to Atalaya, situated at the foot of 
the Sierra d' Estrella. Castel Branco is a decayed 
town. " Its citadel and walls are in a state of ruin 
and decay. Although not fortified, it is still very 
important as a military station, for the country around 
it, especially On the ground road which passes by 
Sobreiro Formosa towards the Zezere, abounds in 
strong and defensible positions : it has been also for- 
merly a Roman station ; and wherever we can trace 
the awful vestiges of those all-conquering soldiers, the 
Roman legions, we feel, I think, a very exalted and 
indefinable satisfaction. From our camp near Atalaya, 
the eye ranged over the southern face of the proud 
Sierra d'Estrella, rising many thousand feet above the 
level of the sea, traversed by good roads, formed with 
infinite labour over clefts of rocks, and gemmed with 
several white towns and villages, which lie nestling 
and sparkling on its ample bosom." 

From the latter end of July to September, in the 
year 1811, the division lay at Villa Vi9osa, " a hand- 
some, well-built town, about five leagues from Elvas. 



A hunting-place ; a fine large preserve, walled in, and 
filled with deer and game; wide streets, handsome 
houses, a royal chapel, and several churches and con- 
vents, attest the former rank of this town, which was 
once a favourite country retreat for the court of 
Portugal. Our billets here were very comfortable; 
the walks and rides in the park, which, from the ine- 
qualities of the ground, and the thickness of the under- 
wood, had all the character of a wilderness, were strik- 
ingly beautiful; the markets are well supplied, and 
the vineyards of Borba, so celebrated for its wine, lay 
within two miles of us. One of my daily amusements 
was attendance at the royal chapel, where the music 
and singing were both very excellent." 

In the year 1812, the writer once more left Lisbon 
for Estremadura, to join his regiment, proceeding 
unattended by way of Abrantes As far as this place, 
there was not a town or village on the route that did 
not present affecting traces of the march of invading 
armies. " Cottages all roofless and untenanted, the 
unpruned vine, growing in rank luxuriance over their 
ruined walls, neglected gardens, the shells of fine 
houses half destroyed by fire, convents and churches, 
too solid to be demolished, standing open and neglected, 
with the ornamental wood or stone work which once 
adorned them broken down and defaced : all pro- 
claimed silently, but forcibly, that I was travelling 
through a country which had been the theatre of war, 
and exposed to the ravages of contending armies. 
Such are the scenes which, not only in Portugal, but 
throughout Spain, arrest the eye at every step, and 
make the Briton, while he sighs over the miseries of 
the peaceful citizens and laborious peasants whose 
towns and villages have been thus visited by violence 


and rapine, offer up many a grateful prayer for the 
secure and heaven-defended position of his happier 
countrymen." From Abrantes, the writer proceeded 
to Bajadoz. The remainder of the Recollections relate 
to Spain. 

Major Dalrymple, who travelled in Portugal about 
fifty years ago, has given a meagre description of the 
route from the Galician frontier to Lisbon, by way of 
Oporto: for want of better materials, we must avail 
ourselves of his journal. 

" I crossed the river Minho, and put up at a 
wretched estallagem in Valen9a. This town, on the 
most northern frontier of Portugal, is beautifully 
situated on the banks of the river. The prospectr 
from it are very fine. All without is pleasant, but 
wretched within. Travelled hence on a very bad 
road, but through a pleasant country in general, which 
appeared populous, and was cultivated, as high as the 
hills would permit, with Indian corn and vines. Met 
many people, who had a neat appearance, but the 
women were without shoes and stockings. Saw some 

oaks and firs, with a few scattered olive trees 

Passed an extensive stone bridge of sixteen Gothic 
arches and eight circular ones, which gives the name 
to the town of Puente de Lima, where we arrived, 
having been seven hours going over what is called 
five leagues. This town has been fortified, to defend 
the passage of the river ; bnt the works are now in 
ruins. The friars in all countries have chosen beauti- 
ful situations for their houses. There is a convent of 
San Benito here, delightfully placed on a height that 
overlooks the river, and is very conspicuous from 
the town. We found a tolerably good estallagem 



" From Puente de Lima we proceeded to Braga, 
through a most populous, pleasant, and enclosed 
country ; rather hilly, but full of houses and villages ; 
fertile with Indian corn, some flax, and vines: the 
latter, twining round the oaks and other trees in the 
hedges, formed most beautiful festoons. Six hours to 
five leagues. 

" Braga, in the time of Pliny, was a place of great 
importance, having under its jurisdiction 24 cities, 
and 575,000 inhabitants.* The numberless Roman 
antiquities that are still extant, are vestiges of its 
ancient grandeur. It is famous for the councils held 
here in the fifth and sixth centuries, and is still a 
metropolitan see. Near the church of St. Sebastian 
are seen a great many milliaria, brought hither from 
different parts, and many ancient inscriptions. This 
city is pleasantly situated on a height above the river 
Cebado. It is large and well built. The streets are 
spacious, well paved, and clean, with many fountains. A 
manufacture of beaver hats is carried on near this place, 
and an appearance of much trade prevails in it. At a 
fair here, there was a great deal of coarse linen cloth, 
some small cattle, crockery-ware, wooden shoes, called 
galloches, fowls, Indian corn, millet, wheat, rye, salt, 
and most excellent fruits, melons, peaches, &c., in 
great abundance. The peasantry had a neat appear- 

* The archbishopric of Braga forms the third division of the 
province of Entre Douro e Minho ; and, according to the estimate 
of 1810, contains 1,292 parishes, 162,960 inhabited houses, and 
638,102 inhabitants; being 300,859 males, and 337,243 females. 
The district contains thirteen cantons. The city of Braga, which 
is the capital of the province, is situated on the small river Este, 
not far from the Cavado. It is very neat, and contains five parish- 
churches, eight religious houses, and 13,000 inhabitants. Its 
manufactory of hats supplies a great part of Portugal with that 


ance ; but the women go barefooted. They all wore 
English baize petticoats, and cloaks of various colours 
and different fancies. Those of the city wore black 
cloth or baize mantles and petticoats, which gave 
them a most sombre appearance. There are some 
gaudy churches and large houses here ; but they are 
loaded with superabundant ornaments, which give 
them a most Gothic appearance. 

" Leaving Braga, we travelled through a most fer- 
tile, pleasant, and populous country, for five hours. 
The villages, farms, and enclosures, all look well at a 
distance ; but, on approaching them, there appears a 
want of neatness. For an hour and a half more, 
mountains and waste land, when we halted and dined 
at a little village. Pursuing our journey, we crossed 
a ferry ; went through an indifferent country and poor 
soil, not so much cultivated as before ; passed a few 
scattered olive-trees ; and having been twelve hours 
travelling what is called eight leagues, arrived at 
Oporto." * 


OPORTO, the second city in Portugal, is situated 
on the north bank of the Douro, about four miles from 
its mouth. It stands partly on a hill, and partly on 
a bank of the river. It has still an old wall, five or 
six feet thick, flanked at intervals with mean-looking 
towers, and further protected by a small fort ; but, as 
the harbour is extremely difficult of entrance, the 
Portuguese Government have paid little attention to 
the fortifications; and, in many places, the wall is 
fallen into ruins. The quay extends the whole length 

* Dalrymple's Travels through Portugal, pp. 118123. 


of the town, but is of very simple construction. On 
one side is a street; the other side is walled and 
raised, merely for the purpose of fastening to it the 
ship-cables, At certain seasons, in consequence of 
the rains, or the melting of the snow on the moun- 
tains, the Douro swells, and becomes a mighty torrent, 
so that no cables are capable of holding the vessels, 
without the precaution of a number of booms placed 
on the quay to secure them. The roadstead is spacious, 
and is at times the rendezvous of fleets of merchant- 
men for Brazil. It is commanded by the small fort 
of San Joam (St. John), on the north bank at the 
mouth of the river. The town is in general well 
built. From the strand rises a broad, well-paved 
street, with causeways on each side, leading to two 
equally handsome oblique streets. The others on the 
declivity of the hill are narrow, crooked, and dirty; 
but several of those on the top are fine and broad, and 
contain a number of elegant houses. Indeed, the 
greater part of the buildings in Oporto are regular, 
light, and neat; and it is allowed to be the cleanest 
and most agreeable town in Portugal, while, in amount 
of population and trade, it yields only to Lisbon. The 
steepness of the hill on which it is built renders 
riding and walking very difficult. On the east side 
of the town, the houses overhanging the side of the 
river are built on so steep a declivity, as to be acces- 
sible only by steps cut out of the rock. To make 
amends in some degree for this inconvenience, the 
situation and prospect are romantic and beautiful. 

This city contains a naval arsenal and dock-yard. 
The harbour, however, is difficult of access, partly 
from rocks at the mouth of the Douro, partly from 
the accumulation of sand brought down by the stream. 


It is therefore seldom entered by ships of war, and 
privateers, aware of their absence, come with impunity 
up the river to within a short distance of the town. 
Oporto is a bishop's see, the seat of a corregidor, a 
provedor, and a military commander. The popula- 
tion in 1802 was estimated at 74,000; but this in- 
eluded its suburbs. There is a theatre here, of com- 
paratively recent erection. 

On the opposite bank of the Douro, there are two 
places, sometimes accounted distinct towns, but which 
are more properly suburbs of the city. The smaller 
and more westerly of these, called Gaya, is reputed to 
occupy the site of the ancient town of Cale. The 
situation now occupied by the town of Oporto, being 
subsequently found more commodious for navigation, 
from the greater depth of water along its bank, it was 
built upon, and called Portus Cale. In process of 
time, it became the more considerable of the two, and 
took the title of porto (the port), while the kingdom 
took that of Portw Cale, or Portugale. Such is the 
received tradition. To the east of Gaya, and, in like 
manner, on the south bank of the Douro, is another 
small but populous town, called Villa Nova da Porto, 
inhabited, notwithstanding its sounding name, only 
by. mechanics and others of the lower orders. Alto- 
gether, the population on the south bank is not short 
of 20,000, which, with the 54,000 assigned to Oporto, 
makes a total of 74,000. 

Between Gaya and Villanova are immense ware- 
houses for storing the wine embarked here. This 
wine, though deriving its name from Oporto, is pro- 
duced, not in the adjacent country, but in the exten- 
sive province of Tras los Monies, to the north-west, 
and in some districts of Entre Douro e Minho, to the 
north. The amount exported varies, in different years, 


from 50,000 to 70,000 pipes, of which by far the 
greatest portion goes to the British dominions. On 
the part of the Portuguese, a chartered company for 
the regulation of the wine trade was established in 
1756; but the expediency of vesting such an associa- 
tion with privileges has been much questioned. The 
other exports from Oporto are, oil, sumach, linen, and 
oranges. The imports are, woollen, cotton, and hard- 
ware manufactures, almost all from England ; also, 
fish from the west of England and Newfoundland; 
from the Baltic, hemp and flax ; from the United 
States, the chief import is rice. Though so much 
inferior in size to the capital, Oporto is more properly 
the central point for the exchange of British and Por- 
tuguese merchandise, and has long been the seat of a 
British factory. The commercial houses of the Bri- 
tish in Oporto are about thirty in number ; but, in 
addition to the established merchants, there are always 
a number of English in Oporto on occasional business, 
or belonging to the shipping. Their exchange, or 
place of daily rendezvous, is in a part of the high 
street, covered with canvass as a protection from the 
sun and rain. They have also a cassino, or house 
fitted up with reading-rooms : the whole is under good 
regulations. The exchange with London is computed, 
as at Lisbon, in milrees, of which sixty-five, more or 
less, according to circumstances, are reckoned to a 
pound sterling. The weights, measures, and coins, 
are the same as at Lisbon. 

" The climate of Oporto is moist in winter, less 
from the vicinity of the Atlantic, than from its position 
in the midst of woods and mountains. The cold is, 
accordingly, keen for the latitude, but it seldom freezes. 
In summer, on the other hand, the heat would be 
intense, were it not moderated by winds which blow 


regularly, following the course of the sun, from the 
east in the morning, from the south in the middle of 
the day, and from the west at night. The soil of the 
surrounding country is not fertile ; but the gardens 
in the environs of the town are beautiful and pleasant, 
producing, according to their exposure, or their respec- 
tive degrees of elevation, the fruits of the northern or 
southern latitudes. The vicinity of Oporto, which is 
mountainous, exhibits many traces of metallic ores; 
and along the south bank of the river, there are indi- 
cations of productive veins of copper. 

" We left Oporto," continues Major Dalrymple, 
" on the 28th of September ; and, crossing the Douro 
to Villa Nova, travelled through a country little culti- 
vated for three leagues, when we came to a small 
village, where we were obliged to put up at a most 
filthy estallagem, on account of the heavy rain that 
fell. The next day, we pursued our journey through 
a populous country, passing several villages; saw 
many vines, much Indian corn, and some fir-trees, 
and arrived at St. Antonio, a village : two and a half 
leagues in three hours. Here we met with another 
abominable estallagem" * 

" The third day, we travelled in a narrow, enclosed, 
bad road; passed some vines and waste land, with 
scattered olive-trees, and many droves of cattle, till 
we reached Pinneyro, whence, by Alvergueria, crossing 
the Vouga in a boat, we arrived at Sardaon; six 
leagues in eight hours. 

" (October 1st.) Travelled on a tolerably good road ; 
passed a great many olive-trees, some vines, and 
Indian corn, with a few villages. Observed the 
country become less populous, not so many houses and 

* Dalrymple, p. 128. 


towns, and some waste spots of ground. All through 
this country from Valenga, there is a kind of carriage, 
like the Irish car, drawn by oxen yoked by the neck. 
The wheels are never greased, on purpose, as they 
told me, that they should give notice to each other, by 
the screeching noise they make, so that they may 
avoid coming in contact on the narrow roads which 
prevail all through the northern parts of the country. 
Arrived at Mehallada, four leagues in five hours. At 
this place, we got wheaten straw for our cattle ; the 
grain trod out as in Andalusia. Here I met, for the 
first time since I left Astorga, a travelling carriage : 
a horse-litter put up at the same estallagem. The 
roads hitherto have been so rugged, that it is impos- 
sible for other vehicles to travel on them. We got 
very clean beds. 

" From Mehallada, we went, for two leagues, 
through a country but little cultivated, with some 
vines and olive-trees, but aftenvards more improved. 
Passed several quintas, or country-houses, and arrived 
at Coimbra ; three leagues in three hours. The town 
is pleasantly situated on the side of a hill, near the 
river Mondego, over which there is a stone bridge. 
The prospects from the town, both up and down the 
river, are fine and extensive. The convent of Santa 
Clara, where the unfortunate Agnes de Castro was mur- 
dered and interred, (but she was afterwards removed 
with great funeral pomp to Alcobaza,) is an extensive 
building, seated on the opposite side of the river, and 
presents itself most beautifully to the view. This 
town has been a strong post in the time of the Moors ; 
there are the ruins of a Moorish castle still extant." 

" Coimbra," says Mr. Murphy, " a city long cele- 
brated as the Athens of Portugal, is built partly on 
the western side of a steep, rocky precipice, and partly 


on a plain contiguous to the river Mondego. Not- 
withstanding the elevation of its site, we did not 
perceive it till we had almost entered it, when the 
churches, colleges, and lofty towers, broke upon the 
view at once. If we may judge from the capacious- 
ness of the several apartments occupied by these 
rarities, the museum of Coimbra is inferior to few in 

Europe The library is also very extensive, and 

stored with an immense number of printed books and 
manuscripts.* The principal manufactories of this 
town consist of pottery, of which there are six for red, 
and eleven for glazed ware. The experience of ages, 
with the aid of various experiments made in the 
chemical laboratory of this university, have contributed 
to raise this branch to a high degree of perfection. 
Woollen and linen cloths are also manufactured here ; 
and the kingdom is hence supplied with horn combs 
and wooden tooth-picks."f 

Coimbra is the see of a bishop. It has, exclusive of 
the cathedral, eight parish -churches, and a like number 
of convents ; one of which, that of Santa Cruz, is the 
second, in point of wealth, in the kingdom. But by 
far the most interesting object at Coimbra is the 
university, founded originally at Lisbon, in 1291, but 
transferred hither in 1306, and now the only esta- 
blishment of the kind in Portugal. It consists of 
eighteen colleges, with very ample funds. There are 
nearly forty professors; but the average number of 
students is not above 800. This city was formerly 
the residence of the kings of Portugal, many of whose 
tombs it contains. It was fortified at a very early 
period, and has undergone many sieges. The ancient 

* 38,000 volumes, according to Balbi. 
t Murphy's Travels, pp. 24 26: 


Avails and towers still remain, and form its only 

From Coimbra, Major Dalrymple proceeded (on the 
4th) to Pornbal, seven leagues in six hours. He 
passed this day many olive-grounds and vineyards, 
some maize-fields, forests of firs, oaks, and cypress- 
trees, and some waste land. At this place, from 
which the marquis of Pombal takes his title, there is 
an old castle on a height. A considerable hat-manu- 
factory is carried on here. 

On the 5th, our Traveller proceeded to Leiria, 
travelling, for two leagues, through a flat country, 
cultivated with Indian corn, and afterwards with vines 
and olives in great abundance ; five leagues in five 
hours. This city, though a bishop's see, is small, and 
had a sombre and poor appearance. It is one of the 
most ancient cities in Portugal, and is situated on the 
banks of the river Lis, in the midst of a fertile coun- 
try, finely diversified with hill and dale. The soil, 
Mr. Murphy says, "is so productive, that with little 
labour it yields abundance of corn, grapes, and olives ; 
yet, with all these advantages, both the plough and 
the loom are neglected ; no wonder, then, that an air 
of sadness and desolation is visible in every street. 
The remains of a palace, formerly the residence of 
king Deniz, surnamed the Husbandman, still make a 
conspicuous figure on the brow of a precipice conti- 
guous to the town." This wise and benificent sove- 
reign encouraged agriculture, planted the forest at 
Marinha, one of the most extensive in Europe, and 
founded, in 1291, the university of Coimbra. 

" There is a considerable fair held annually in the 
city of Leiria, on the 25th of March, which is usually 
crowded with dealers, exposing to sale various articles 
of English manufacture, particularly woollen cloths of 


a secohd quality, and hardware of every kind. The 
principal articles furnished by the natives are plate, 
jewellery, linen cloths, and pottery. Such an occa- 
sion affords a stranger the opportunity of observ- 
ing the condition of the peasantry, who flock annually 
to the fair. Their appearance, in general, indicates 
more happiness than is promised by the uncultivated 
state of the land. The men wear short brown 
jackets, and boots of the same colour. Each carries a 
staff seven feet long, which he wields in combat with 
great dexterity. The women wear long cloaks of red 
or pearl-colour, fringed with ribbons ; their necks 
and wrists are ornamented with gold chains. The 
former sex are remarkably low of stature and feeble ; 
it is quite the reverse with the females, who are 
strong, well-proportioned, and though but of a 
moderate size, yet, when ranged with the men, they 
look like Amazons." 

About a league from Leira, " we entered," conti- 
nues Dalrymple, " upon a heath, and carried it along 
with us to Marinha; three leagues in five hours. 
This is a village, where one Stevens, an Englishman, 
has got a grant from the crown, and established a glass- 
manufactory, to the prejudice of foreign commerce. 

" Pursued our journey through an unculti- 
vated country for two leagues : we then came to 
extensive olive-groves, some vines, and Indian corn; 
and soon arrived at Batalha, four leagues in four 
hours. At this place, there is a very handsome 
church belonging to the convent of Dominicans, 
built in the Gothic style, and endowed by Don John I. 
king of Portugal, who conquered John I. of Castile, 
in the famous battle of Aljubarrota, in 1385. King 
John lies interred here, with Donna Philipa, his 
consort, who was daughter of John of Lancaster, of 


England. Several other kings of Portugal are also 
buried here. The chapter-house is a handsome 
building, under a roof of sixty feet square. Near the 
church are some works in the Moorish taste, remark- 
ably rich in ornament, and beautiful, but which were 
never finished." 

Mr. Murphy gives a more minute description of 
this church and monastery, which is one of the most 
remarkable in the kingdom, and would have amply 
repaid, he says, a longer journey. " The architecture 
is of the style called Norman Gothic, and may be 
justly considered as one of the most perfect and beau- 
tiful specimens of that style existing. In tire construc- 
tion of the church, we observe none of those trifling 
and superfluous sculptures which but too often are 
seen to crowd other Gothic edifices. Whatever orna- 
ments are employed in it, are sparingly but judiciously 
disposed, particularly in the inside, which is remark- 
able for a chaste and noble plainness, and the general 
effect, which is grand and sublime, is derived, not 
from any meretricious embellishments, but from the 
intrinsic merit of the design. The forms of its mould- 
ings and ornaments are also different from those of 
any other Gothic building that I have seen. The dif- 
ference chiefly consists in their being turned very 
quick, cut sharp and deep, with some other peculiari- 
ties, which cannot be well explained in writing. 
Throughout the whole are seen a correctness and re- 
gularity, evidently the result of a well-conceived 
original design. It is equally evident, that this de- 
sign has been immutably adhered to and executed in 
regular progression, without those alterations and in- 
terruptions to which such large buildings are commonly 

"The extent of the building, from the western 


entrance to the eastern extremity, is 416 feet. From 
north to south, including the monastery, it measures 
541 feet. The entire, except the inferior offices and 
dormitories, is built of marble, originally not very un- 
like in colour to that of Carrara ; but that colour is 
now changed internally to a modest grey : externally, 
the stone has contracted a yellow scoria, highly pic- 
turesque to the eye of an artist. In every thing that 
constitutes the ornamental or the elegant, the princi- 
pal entrance certainly stands unrivalled by any other 
Gothic frontispiece in Europe. The portal, which is 
28 feet wide by 57 high, is embellished with upwards 
of 100 figures in alto-relievo, representing Moses and 
the prophets ; saints, angels, apostles, kings, popes, 
bishops, and martyfs, with their respective insignia. 
Each figure stands on an ornamented pedestal beneath 
a canopy of delicate workmanship. They are separated 
from each other by an assemblage of mouldings ter- 
minating in pointed arches. Below the vertex of the 
inferior arch, is a triangular recess, where there is 
seated on a throne, beneath a triple canopy, a figure 
with a celestial crown, his left hand resting upon a 
globe ; the other is extended in the act of admonition. 
This figure represents the Saviour dictating to the four 
evangelists, who surround him, attended by their re- 
spective attributes. The summit is crowned with an 
ornamental railing, at the height of about 100 feet 
from the pavement of the church. The space between 
that and the portal is occupied by a large window, of 
singular workmanship : it consists of tablets of marble, 
formed into numerous compartments, whose instertices 
are filled up with stained glass. In the evening, when 
the sun is opposite to this window, his beams dart 
through the perforations, and cover the wall and pil- 
lars of the church with myriads of variegated tints. 


It is impossible to convey an adequate idea of the beauty 
of the effect, or the agreeable sensations they excite in 
the spectator. 

" In point of construction, the chapter-house might 
be considered as a masterpiece of architecture. Its 
plan forms a square, each side of which measures 64 
feet, and is covered with a vault of hewn stone. The 
principal ribs spring from slender shafts, and branch 
out in different directions as they approach the cen- 
tre ; where all the radiating nerves, in the form of a 
star, encircle an ornamented patera.* 

" At the rear of the church is an unfinished mauso- 
leum of a curious form, wherein the architect has ex- 
hibited no superficial knowledge of geometry, or the 
principles of sound and elegant design. In point of 
workmanship, neither the pen nor the pencil is ade- 
quate to express its real merits ; for, though most ob- 
jects, when transferred to the canvass, appear to ad- 
vantage, this, on the contrary, though delineated by 
the most ingenious artists, upon examination, will ap- 
pear more beautiful than any representation of it upon 
canvass or paper. And for these reasons, the marble 
is polished, the sculpture in many parts detached from 
the centre of the block, and so minutely carved, that 
to preserve all the expressive marks and touches of the 

* " It is recorded, that in building that magnificent arch, it fell 
twice in striking the centres, with great injury to the workmen ; 
but the king desiring at all events to have a room without the 
defect of a central support, promised to reward the architect if he 
could accomplish it. At this he was animated in such a manner 
that he began it again, as if confident of success. The king, how- 
ever, would not commit the lives of his workmen in striking the 
centres ; but ordered from different prisons such delinquents as 
were sentenced to capital punishment, in order that, if the like 
disaster happened a third time, none should suffer, but those who 
had already forfeited their lives to the offended laws of their 


chisel, it is not possible to condense them into a 
smaller compass : so that, to convey a true idea of the 
whole, the picture would require to be as large as the 
prototype. To give an instance : there is a figure at 
the entrance, representing one of the fathers of the 
church, not more than twelve inches in height ; yet, 
the sculptor has expressed its worn tunic in a thread- 
bare state. We may form some idea of the magnitude 
of the design from the magnificence of the entrance. 
It is 32 feet wide at the splay; as it recedes, the 
breadth contracts, till it forms an aperture of 15 feet 
wide by 31 feet high. Among the many thousands of 
ornaments with which this entrance abounds, we be- 
hold the following motto often repeated : Tanyas Erey. 
The characters are Gothic, embossed, and encircled by 
rings knotted together. In the loggia, contiguous to 
the above door, we observe, over a recess, a shield, 
bearing the letters E F, between two armillary spheres. 
The architecture in some parts is Arabian, in others 
purely Gothic. The inside presents an octagon, the 
diameter of which, between the parallel sides, is sixty- 
five feet. This was to have been covered with a 
vault of hewn stone, as appears by the parts already 
commenced, at the height of about 71 feet ; but, 
though it has been exposed to the weather since 
the year 1509, it scarcely exhibits any traces of decay. 
It was probably left in this unfinished state, owing 
to the circumstance, that the king withdrew all the 
artificers employed here, to the convent of Belem near 
Lisbon, which he founded in testimony of his joy at 
the discovery of India by Vasco de Gama. The sides 
of the octagon, except the one at the entrance, are 
finished with arches, leading to as many chapels, each 
distinguished by the devices of the princes for whom 
they were intended. The pious Leonor, sister-in-law 


to king Emanuel, and wife of his predecessor John II. 
who is supposed by some, the foundress of this superb 
mausoleum, as a depository for her husband and other 
royal personages, has, in one of them, destined for 
herself and the king her consort, introduced her own 
maternal device, the pelican piercing its breast." * 

From Batalha, Major Dalrymple passed through a 
very thinly peopled country, with some very barren 
hills to the left, and at the end of three hours arrived 
at Alcobaza. 

" Alfonso Henriquez made a vow, when passing 
by this place to the siege of Santarem, that, if suc- 
cessful, he would establish a monastery on the 
spot. Accordingly, having taken the place by esca- 
lade, he founded, with the spoils gained in his wars 
with the Moors, this convent, about the middle of the 
twelfth century, and richly endowed it. It derives its 
name from the two rivers Alcoa and Baca. It is 
a most extensive pile of building, in the Gothic 
taste, with some modern additions that disfigure it 
exceedingly. The church is rich in chalices, plate, 
&c. The convent is inhabited by 130 friars of the order 
of St. Bernard, who have an amazing income ; I was 
told, 180,000 cruzados a year, about 20,000/. sterling. 

* " According to the accounts of those who are supposed to have 
had their information from the records preserved in the royal ar- 
chives of Lisbon, the name of the architect of the church was 
Stephen Stephenson, a native of England. The fathers Casegas 
and De Sousa, who have written the history of Batalha with great 
accuracy, though silent on this head, inform us that the king., 
desirous of building a monastery superior to any in Europe, invited 
from distant countries the most celebrated architects that could be 
found. Now, as Gothic architecture at that time flourished in 
England, it is not improbable that some of its artists might 
embrace the invitation of so liberable a prince, especially as his 
consort, queen Philippa, was the eldest daughter of John of Gaunt, 
duke of Lancaster, son of Edward III." MCRPHY, pp. 33-44. 


The west front of this monastery, including the 
church, which is in the centre, extends 620 feet ; the 
depth is about 750. On entering the church at the west 
fron , one is struck with the grandeur of the general 
effect peculiar to the inside of Gothic churches ; but 
very few possess that property to a higher degree than 
this. The prospect at the east end is terminated by a 
magnificent glory placed over the altar, at the distance 
of 300 feet from the entrance ; but the apparent dis- 
tance is considerably more, on account of the narrow- 
ness of the nave, and the regular succession of pillars. 
This convent contains one of the finest collections of 
pictures in the kingdom. In the rear of the church 
is a large garden, planted with trees and shrubs, and 
distributed into pleasant walks. 

The only two towns of any interest or importance 
which remain to be noticed, are those of Beja and 
Evora, both in the province of Alemtejo.* Mr. Murphy 
gives the following description of them. 

" The city of Beja is situated upon an eminence, 
about three and twenty leagues south-east of Lisbon. 
Julius Caesar honoured it with the title of Pax Julia, 
and made it a Roman colony. The Moors had pos- 
session of it from the year 715 till 1162. Some re- 
mains of the walls, towers, and fortifications of the 
latter, are still extant; but none of the monuments of 
the former. The chief part of the present town was 
built by Alfonso III. It contains one of the best 
constructed castles in the kingdom, founded by king 
Diniz. Two leagues from hence is the Guadiana. 

" The ancient city of Beja was built a short dis- 
tance to the east of the present. In digging there, 

The name of this province signifies, beyond the Tagus. It is 
the largest in Portugal, being above one hundred miles each way ; 
but great part of it is forest or waste land. 



several antique fragments were discovered. It must 
be regretted that these researches are not prosecuted ; 
the process would not be attended with much dif- 
ficulty or expense, as the pavement of the old city is 
not more than 26 feet beneath the surface of the earth. 
In a cave, not exceeding 30 feet square by 20 deep, 
several fragments have been found, which are depo- 
sited among other ancient remains in the bishop of 
Beja's museum." 

About twelve leagues from Beja, is the city of 
Evora (or Ebora), situated upon an eminence sur- 
rounded by a fine level country, which produces 
corn, wine, and oil. The Spanish antiquaries say, 
that Evora was first built by the Celts, about 759 
years before the birth of Christ. Pliny and others 
affirm, that it was inhabited by the Gauls and Phe- 
nicians. Quintus Sertorius, the celebrated Roman 
captain, made himself master of it about eighty years 
B.C., and secured it with walls, fortifications, and sub- 
terraneous ways. He also ornamented it with several 
public buildings, some of which exist to this day. Julius 
Caesar made it a municipal town, and gave it the name 
of Liberalitas Julioe. The Moors took possession of it 
in the year 715. It is not so large as Oporto, though 
considered as the second city in the kingdom. The 
number of its inhabitants is computed at 20,000,* 
among whom are many families of distinction. It 
contains a college and a tribunal of inquisition. 

" Among the public buildings raised here by Serto- 
rius, there exists a noble aqueduct in good preserva- 
tion. The piers are nine feet broad, by four and a 
half thick. The arched space between is thirteen 
feet six inches. At intervals, buttresses are super- 

* In 1802, the population was estimated at only 12,000. 


added to the piers, the better to secure the arcu 
ation. The whole is formed of irregular stone, ex- 
cept the arches, which are of brick.* A castellum is 
erected over this aqueduct, at its termination in the 
city. In its centre is a small reservoir, whence tubes 
are conveyed to the different fountains and cisterns. 

" Another structure here, built by Sertorius, is said 
to be the remains pf a temple dedicated to Diana. The 
elegance displayed in the remains of this temple, has 
led many to conjecture that the architect was a Greek, 
from a supposition that Rome, at the time of Sertorius, 
had not artisans competent to design or execute so 
polished a fabric. It is now converted into a meat 
shambles !" 

In the Franciscan convent at Evora, there is a re- 
markable charnel-house, 60 feet long, by 36, the piers 
of which, four on each side, are lined with human 
skulls and bones, set in a hard cement. Over the 
archway which leads to it, is inscribed : 

" Nos os ossos que aqui estamos, 
Pellas vossos esperamos" 

" We, the bones that are here, wait for yours also."t 
The obscurity of the place, and the prostrate posture 

* ' ' From the labour and expense required in building aqueducts 
of this kind, many have been led to conclude that the ancients 
were unacquainted with the art of conveying water through un- 
equal grounds by any other means. Vitruvius, however, book 
viii. ch. 7, gives excellent rules for conveying water in tubes. 
Pliny, also, book xxxi. ch. 6, expressly mentions, that the ancients 
frequently conveyed water in this manner." MCRPHY, p. 304. 
Any one inspecting, amid the ruins of Pompeii, the remains of 
the fountains discovered there, will be convinced of the justness 
of the preceding observations. 

t A similar Golgotha, but of a still more singular kind, is at - 
tached to the Franciscan monastery at Palermo. In some well- 
lighted, subterraneous galleries, are preserved a horrible collection 
of human bodies, some standing, others seated, all of them 


of the devotees who visit it, render the whole a scene 
truly ghastly and awful. 

And this is Portugal, the last and lowest of the 
European kingdoms, yet, once the mistress of both 
Indies, the mother country of Brazil! And the 
peasantry, as well as the soil, are worthy of a better 
government. In the Peninsular war, they proved 
themselves capable of becoming as good soldiers, at 
least, as their haughty neighbours ; and if more de- 
graded, they are not, perhaps, so much depraved. 
Hitherto, civilisation has scarcely made any advance 
in this most primeval country. All has been station- 
ary, under the repressing influence of a Gothic priest- 
hood, " who love darkness better than light, because 
their deeds are evil." But the dawn of brighter days 
has arisen on this back-country of Europe ; and though 
it has been ushered in with gloom and tempest, the 
horrors and tumult of war, yet, the light which has 
broken in upon the people will, it may be hoped, 
eventually compensate for even the French invasion 
and the revolt of Brazil. 

clothed, and bearing in their shrivelled hands, each his name, age, 
and the date of his demise. The bodies of females are preserved 
in like manner, in a building attached to the Campo Santo of the 
same capital.